I continue a series on deception by the defenders. Most deceptive plays are not hard to execute. Many are based on one of two simple ideas:
(1) Let declarer win his first try at a repeatable finesse; (2) Play a card he already knows (or will soon know) you hold.
In a duplicate event, West leads the ten of hearts against four spades. Say South takes dummy’s ace and leads a trump: nine, king, ace. The defense continues hearts, and South ruffs the third heart and takes the queen of trumps. East’s jack falls, so South draws the last trump with the ten and makes an overtrick.
What chances did East-West miss to hold South to 10 tricks?
They missed two. If West ducks the first trump lead, South must guess whether to lead the queen or a low trump next.
Even better, East could play the jack on the first trump. West could capture South’s king and lead another heart. After South ruffed the third heart, he would lead a trump to dummy’s eight, playing West for A-9-5-3.
You hold: 1082 A J 4 ( 7653 $ 7 6 3. Your partner opens one spade. North in today’s deal responded 1NT with this hand. Do you agree with that action?
Answer: I agree. North’s hand was worth a response. He had an ace and a “working” jack, plus three cards in spades. But North judged -- quite reasonably, I think -- that a raise to two spades would be psychologically too encouraging and might induce South to bid a losing game.