Thinking Bridge: Phoenix NABC 9th Day
After giving count over the heart lead, When West cashes a second heart, East gives suit preference for clubs.
On 7 December, 2013 At 1:45
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Source: NABC Phoenix ACBL Bulletins
Dealer West, Both Vul
A 4 3 2
Q J 10 9 5
Opening lead: Q (Queen from AKQ)
The bidding is normal. North shows a limit raise, keeping in mind that unsupported jacks and queens are frequently worthless, as is the Q in this hand.
Now the defense: East easily recognizes the lead being from the A-K-Q with the jack in dummy and gives count: the 4 playing standard, the 8 playing upside-down.
When West cashes a second heart, East gives suit preference for clubs. However, a stubborn West may be tempted to shift to the J after cashing the third heart.
Let’s take a look at either shift. If West shifts to a club, South is in trouble. South knows that West, a passed hand, started
with 9 high-card points in hearts, has the J for 10, and cannot have a side-suit king. The best South can do is duck the club and later play the Q to the ace, hoping the king falls. Not this time – down one.
However, if West shifts to a diamond, South wins the queen, cashes the A and K, discarding a club, and then leads the Q to the ace hoping to drop the king. No luck, but wait! South exits a spade to East, who wins and must lead a club from
the king or give South a ruff-sluff by leading a diamond. Making three!
Not too many pairs would defeat 3 on this layout against a strong declarer unless West shifts to a club at trick four.
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