|Hand of the Month|
TRICK 3 DEFENSE AGAINST FOUR SPADE CONTRACT
Assume you are playing in a top flight knockout event as West and your goal is to prevent me, as declarer, from taking ten tricks in my spade game.
You lead two top hearts and partner plays the ♥ 10 and ♥ 2 strongly implying a doubleton hearts. What do you lead now? Remember your goal is to beat the 4 ♠ contract, and it matters little if declarer scores 11 tricks instead of 10 tricks.
What do you know at this point?
1. Partner has no hearts remaining and declarer still holds one heart.
2. Declarer very likely holds at least two clubs, otherwise partner holds at least seven clubs and never bid.
3. (a) If declarer has a FIVE card spade suit such as ♠ A10432, he has only nine tricks (five trumps in hand, one heart ruff with a high trump in dummy, and three diamond tricks), so you can afford a passive diamond lead and wait for your two club tricks.
3. (b) If declarer has a SIX card spade suit such as ♠ A105432, declarer has ten tricks as soon as he gains the lead. If so, then you need to start trying to cash clubs NOW and if declarer holds the ♣ K, you could never beat the contract.
4. If partner holds ♠ J10x of spades, leading another heart will promote a trump trick for the defense. (If declarer ruffs with the ♠ 9, partner overruffs. If declarer ruffs high in dummy, ♠ J10x is now worth a trick.)
What should you do?
The double jump to 3 ♠ strongly implies a spade suit of at least six cards with a weakish hand, so making a passive diamond exit hoping declarer has only nine tricks cannot be the percentage action.
Therefore, give yourself two chances! Lead the ♣ A.
If partner gives an encouraging signal, showing the
♣ K, continue clubs. If partner holds three
spades ♠ J10x, he gives a discouraging
club signal and you try for the trump promotion.
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