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In my second deal South plays in 3 and again your are East.
Dealer East, Neither vulnerable, Teams
| 8 5 3
K J 5 2
A Q 10 8 3
| Q 7
Q 9 2
Q 10 9 7 6
7 5 2
| 10 6 2
A K 8 4 3
K 9 6 4
| A K J 9 4
J 7 6 5
8 4 3
North’s bid of 3 is an «unassuming cue bid», signifying a sound raise to 3.
West leads the 2 to his partner’s K and East returns a trump, won by the A. Deciding that a cross-ruff is unlikely to produce more than eight tricks, South runs the J. If the finesse loses, he will still have chances.
As East, have you tried to plan ahead? What is declarer’s hand? You know he has five spades to the A-K-Q or A-K-J, and you place him with four hearts, because your style of defence is to lead third best from an honour combination.
When you see partner’s 2, the count is complete. (If partner had held a singleton club he would have led it; also, with J-x-x South would have played differently.)
It is easy to see that if you take the club and return a trump, South will go up with the King, ruff a heart and play clubs, probably ending up with an overtrick.
Now see what happens when you duck the club lead. South is sure to go for a cross ruff, because he will think it safe to ruff clubs until the King appears. Four tricks later the position will be:
K J 5 2
Q 10 9 7 6
| 10 6
| K J 9
8 4 3
Astonishment spreads over declarer’s face when dummy’s club is covered by your King. Whatever he does he is defeated. If South ruffs, West overruffs and puts you in with the A. You continue hearts and your 10 becomes the setting trick.
Once again, boldness pays dividends: If You can’t gain by winning, DUCK!
Players are nervous of ducking when they can see that their King, Queen or even Ace, may never make, but the trick almost always comes back. Suppose a side suit divided in this way:
A Q 10 6 3
8 5 2 K 9 4
South finesses the Jack and East, seeing his partner’s 2, is afraid to hold up his King. But even supposing the declarer goes up with the Ace on the next round and then ruffs the King, as a rule nothing will be lost: Declarer will make four winners in the suit either way.
Sundelin’s second deal illustrates one of the most important principles in defence: be very reluctant to release a control in an important side suit. Suppose a suit is divided in this way:
K Q J 9 6 3
10 5 A 8 4 2
When South leads low to the king you may create havoc by ducking. Declarer will follow with the queen, then play a third round and ruff low, expecting the ace to fall from West.
Insted, West will overruff and the suit will still not be established. If the worst happens – if the contract is made and you find you could have defeated it by taking your top tricks you can be sure that your partner will appreciate your good intentions!