National Post (Latest Edition)
Withholding a stopper in a suit declarer seems intent on establishing can be a useful tactic but you have to be very careful about the “when” and the “why”: too much duck in your diet can be a bad thing!
North-south had a sensible natural auction in 2/1 Game Force style to reach a normal game contract that was poised for defeat after West’s fourth-best club lead.
Because South captured East’s jack of clubs to set about what he saw as his best chance for finding the needed tricks: the spade finesse.
But when the Jack of spades rode around to East’s Queen, disaster for declarer was imminent: the defender could win the spade Queen, cash his other black Queen and, with no other viable alternative in sight, switch to a heart.
One spade trick, one heart and the princely total of five club winners for a surgical down three.
Not quite as East visualized some compelling reason to not take the spade Queen when he had the opportunity to do so!
Ever hopeful, South continued with a second spade towards dummy but West’s heart discard told the story about spades.
Switching gears, declarer won the second round of spades in dummy to play a heart to his King and West’s ace.
And when the club suit proved to be unrunnable for the defense, South emerged with one heart trick, four diamonds, one club and, courtesy of that ill-advised duck by East, three spades.
Did anyone out there think that was a foul defensive effort?
Take heart: both defenders in an online team match did the same thing!