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Defensive Possibilities By Josephine Culbertson

Lewiston Evening Journal – 1 Mar 1948

In a high percentage of deals there does not seem to be any effective defense, and when the contract is made, the defenders console each other by agreeing that they were helpless. Often, however the defensive possibilities were there, although extraordinary foresight was required to develop them. Let’s look at a typical case:

North dealer. Both sides vulnerable

South plays four hearts. West opened a diamond. The king was played from dummy and a low club was led to South’s blank queen. West won and returned a second diamond. This was taken in dummy: then the club king was cashed so that South could discard his last diamond. The club five was ruffed by South, who then led a spade to the ace and ruffed away dummy’s six of diamonds. Now the defenders were given a spade trick, and although West shifted to the ace and another trump, he could not keep declarer from ruffing dummy’s last club.

Thus, the defense took only one spade trick, one heart and one club, which meant that the four heart contract was fulfilled. On the surface it did not appear that this result could have been been changed by any line of defense, but consider if West had started right out by leading trumps and had continued to play that suit when he regained the lead.

South inevitably would have ended one trick short. Three trump leads by West would reduce the South hand to two trumps, and therefore South could not possibly ruff two clubs and one diamond, nor could he establish any trick to take the place of the lost ruff.


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