The Reporter (Vacaville)

Keep the gate open to the other hand

- By Phillip Alder © 2021 UFS, Dist. by Andrews McMeel for UFS

Entries are one aspect of declarerpl­ay and defense that club players often overlook. To take a simple example, suppose you have a trump suit of A-K-Q-5 in the dummy opposite J-9-8-7-3. You have to draw three rounds; which cards do you have left in each hand?

It might seem like a silly question, but a good player will leave the five

in the dummy opposite the jack three (or the equivalent). By keeping the three in hand, he has an entry to either hand if he needs it.

Similarly, when on defense, if your partner has an establishe­d suit, remember that he will need an entry to be able to cash his winners.

On today’s deal, cover the South and West hands. After the simple auction, West leads the heart four: two, king, nine. East returns the

heart five: queen, ace, six. Now West leads the heart three. Do you see any chance for the defenders to defeat the contract?

Judging from the point-count, West will have about a queen outside hearts. It doesn’t look promising. But there is a chance if he has the club queen. Then, as long as declarer cannot win seven tricks in spades and diamonds, East can defeat the contract by discarding the club ace at trick three.

Here, declarer must play on clubs for nine tricks. If East retains the club ace, South will lead a low club from dummy and put up his king in a successful effort to keep West off lead. But if East jettisons the ace, West will gain the lead with the club queen and cash his heart tricks to defeat the contract.

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