Bridge

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:

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(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.

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