If it works for him, it works for them
By Phillip Alder Boris Spassky, the world chess champion from 1969 to 1972, said, “Nowadays there is more dynamism in chess; modern players like to take the initiative. Usually they are poor defenders though.” Last week, we looked at declarer taking the initiative, analyzing the auction to work out which defender had a key missing honor. But what is good for the declaring goose is also good for the defending ganders. In today’s deal, how should the defense prevail against three notrump after West leads the spade eight? The auction was straightforward. South’s one-no-trump response showed 6-9 (or a poor 10) points and no four-card major.
West carefully leads a top-ofnothing spade eight -- only lead fourth-highest with at least one honor in the suit. South wins the first trick and plays a diamond, hoping to take three spades, four diamonds and three clubs. But East should see how to defeat the contract. Given that South has the spade ace and king, seven points, he cannot also hold the heart ace. So East should take the first diamond and shift to the heart three, the low card from length saying that he has honors in this suit and is trying to take tricks in it. West will win with his ace and return the five, giving the defenders one diamond and four hearts.
Note that if East ducks his diamond ace for two rounds, hoping to get a signal from his partner on the third round, it is too late. Declarer will run for home with three spades, two diamonds and four clubs.