Bridge

If you are de­clarer at 3NT, what would you rather have to op­er­ate with: 13 points in your hand op­po­site 13 in dummy, or 26 in your

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Frank Ste­wart

hand and none across the ta­ble?

It’s bet­ter to have high cards in each hand so you have en­tries to lead to­ward the high cards in the other. The de­fend­ers, for their part, strive to make de­clarer’s en­try sit­u­a­tion less fluid.

At to­day’s 3NT, South has 16 points op­po­site nine. He also has a good five-card suit to work with, promis­ing spot cards and some hon­ors in com­bi­na­tion. More­over, he gets a fa­vor­able open­ing lead: a heart to his A-Q. Would you back de­clarer or the de­fense?

South takes the queen of hearts and leads a di­a­mond to the king. If East wins and re­turns a heart, South wins and leads a se­cond di­a­mond to dummy’s ten. East pro­duces the jack, and the de­fense can take two heart tricks, but de­clarer wins a club shift, fi­nesses in spades and takes the rest, mak­ing three.

Now let the de­fend­ers fo­cus on de­clarer’s en­try sit­u­a­tion: East ducks the first di­a­mond. If de­clarer comes back to a high club and leads a se­cond di­a­mond to the queen, East takes the ace. A heart re­turn won’t beat the con­tract — de­clarer can win and still use the di­a­monds — but East in­stead shifts to the nine of spades. If South plays the queen, West’s king cov­ers. Dummy’s en­try to the long di­a­monds is dis­lodged, and South can take only eight tricks.

On de­fense, you have two ways to beat 3NT. If you can’t set up and cash five tricks in a hurry, you will still suc­ceed if you stop de­clarer from tak­ing nine.

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