Fuente: Mr Bridge

YOU are East in the defensive positions below. Each 1NT opening by South shows 12-14 points and 2 in response asks for 4-card majors (Stayman). It is your turn to play.


  K 10 6 2
K J 6 3
K J 4 2
J 3
J 9 7 5 4
9 5 2
A 10 8
  Q 8 7 4
A K 3
10 7 4
7 6 3
  A 9 5
Q 10 6 2
A Q 8
Q 9 5
Oeste Norte Este Sur
Pass 2 Pass 2
Pass 3NT Fin  

Partner leads the five of hearts and you win with the king. Which card do you return?

Defending against 3NT, you have correctly won the first trick with the king of hearts, the lower of your touching honours. In view of dummy, it is clear to continue hearts. As declarer, you play high cards from the shorter holding to avoid blocking suits. You should do the some as a defender. By returning the ace of hearts, you put yourself in
a position to lead a third round. One of two things is likely to happen. If partner’s hearts include the queen-jack or the queen-ten, declarer will have no stopper. In this case, you run the first five tricks and beat the contract even if partner has no aces. (I say five tricks because partner would hardly lead from a four-card suit after South bid hearts.) The other likely upshot is that declarer has the queen or J-10 of hearts and that your assault on the suit will dislodge this stopper. Then partner, upon coming in with an ace, will run the rest of the hearts. Your side makes four
hearts and a club on the layout shown.


  K J 6
8 4
A J 6
K J 8 3 2
9 8 3
K J 9 5
9 5 2
Q 10 4
  A 10 7 5 4
A 7 3
10 7 4
7 6
  Q 2
Q 10 6 2
K Q 8 3
A 9 5
Oeste Norte Este Sur
Pass 3NT Fin  

Partner leads the five of hearts and you win with the ace. Which card do you return?

Again, partner’s lead and dummy’s heart weakness make it attractive to return the suit. For a spade switch (to your fourth-highest spade, the five) to work you would need partner to hold the queen of spades and an entry. Prospects in hearts are much better. Partner could hold either the queen of hearts and an entry or very good hearts. As the cards lie, your side can make the first five tricks if you return a heart. The accepted rule, when you have two cards left, is to return the higher card, the seven.

Partner can win the return cheaply and put you back in with the ace of spades. Then you can lead a third round of hearts to pick up declarer’s holding. This gives your side four tricks in hearts as well as a spade. How does partner know to put you back in rather than trying to run the hearts? The answer (see 4) is that you would not return
the seven if you started with four hearts.


  10 9 4
K Q 5 4
A K 8 6 3
A 6 3
Q 9 5 2
J 10 9 6
9 5
  7 5
K 10 7 3
A 7
Q 10 7 4 2
  K Q J 8 2
A J 8 6
8 3 2
Oeste Norte Este Sur
Pass 2 Pass 2
Pass 4 Fin  

Partner leads the jack of diamonds and you capture the king with the ace. What do you return?

You may wish to start by assessing whether to return a diamond. Do you remember the bidding? South bid spades and then hearts. This indicates a holding of at least five spades and four hearts, leaving only four cards in the minors. Since dummy has three top winners there, your side can make nothing more in the minors. If you return a diamond, it is basically a passive move.

While you have the clubs well held (and so are not afraid of dummy’s length), a glance at dummy’s heart holding tells you to get busy . If you return a diamond, declarer wins in dummy, plays a heart to the ace and ruffs a heart. Two top clubs follow, allowing your opponent to discard a diamond, after which comes a crossruff in the red suits. The
contract makes with an overtrick!

You can stop this by switching to a trump at trick two. This allows partner to take the ace and play a second round. Now dummy makes one ruff instead of three and the contract fails. The five is the normal trump to lead.


  Q 7 6 4
A Q 10 4
A Q 10 3
10 8 3
7 5
K J 8 6 4
J 6 4
  K J 9 2
J 9 3 2
A 7 5 2
  A 5
A 8 6
Q 10 3
K 9 8 5 2
Oeste Norte Este Sur
Pass 2 Pass 2
Pass 3NT Fin  

Partner leads the six of diamonds and your ace wins. Which card do you return?

Partner has delighted you by leading one of your four-card suits, not your singleton. In view of your help in the suit and dummy’s weakness, you clearly intend to return a diamond. Which card should you choose?

With a four-card holding in partner’s suit, you should return your original fourth highest. In other words, you return the card you would have led [assuming you decided to lead a diamond), in this case the two. Partner will capture the ten of diamonds with the jack and, reading your return as from a four-card suit, lay down the king of diamonds. This
allows your side to make the first five tricks.

Partner knows not to abandon diamonds and try putting you in with the ace of spades because you would not return the two from A-7-2. You would return your higher remaining diamond if you had only two left.