Chicago Sun-Times - - WEATHER - BY FRANK STE­WART

Once a de­fender de­cides on a suit to lead, the card he chooses is of­ten a rou­tine mat­ter: the top card from a se­quence of three or more hon­ors and usu­ally from a “bro­ken se­quence” such as Q-J-9-x. From Q-106-3, he leads fourth high­est. From a worth­less hold­ing such as 9-8-6-4, he may lead high to deny strength.

Some sit­u­a­tions re­quire spe­cial treat­ment. In to­day’s deal, West leads a diamond against four spades: jack, ace, six. East de­cides to at­tack hearts. He fears that once de­clarer draws trumps, dummy’s clubs may pro­vide heart dis­cards.

Say East shifts to the deuce. If de­clarer plays low, West must put up the king, and the de­fense gets only one heart.

East must lead the 10 of hearts, a so-called “sur­round­ing play.” If South’s jack covers, West’s king forces dummy’s ace, and when West takes his king of trumps, his heart re­turn lets East score the eight and queen. In such sit­u­a­tions, a de­fender leads the card he would have led had he held a se­quence.

Daily ques­tion

You hold: ♠ K7 ♥ K53 ♦ Q9742 ♣ 6 5 3. Your part­ner opens one spade, you re­spond 1NT and he bids two hearts. What do you say?

An­swer: Al­though to pass might be best, your cor­rect call is a “false pref­er­ence” to two spades. Your part­ner will most of­ten have only four hearts and five spades, and the 5-2 fit will prove to be the bet­ter trump suit. More­over, your bid will give part­ner an­other chance. If he has sig­nif­i­cant ex­tra strength, you may have a game.

North dealer

E-W vul­ner­a­ble

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