If it works for him, it works for them

Cecil Whig - - COMICS & PUZZLES -

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.

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