Schenectady Gazette – 23 Jul 1958

East-West vulnerable. South deals.

Lead: J.

If I were asked to state in a phrase the most important guide to the successful play of the Cards, I would probably offer this!

[box]»Make the opposition play before you use your important cards.»[/box]

It is a distinct advantage to play fourth hand to any trick and the one who plays first is under a handicap. South’s failure to grasp this principle involved him in a loss which ran into several figures. Today’s bidding was more or less routine.

North had ample values for his jump shift and after a temporizing rebid, he embarked on a Blackwood inquiry eventually consigning the hand to a small slam contract in hearts.

THE JACK OF SPADES was opened. West showed out of trumps on the second round and declarer discontinued the suit. He cashed the ace of clubs and then led over to the king, which was ruffed by East.

Declarer was obliged to lose another club trick and the contract went on the rocks. He had neglected to employ the technique of getting the opposition to play first before using his important card. He should not have permitted the king of clubs to be trumped.

This could have been accomplished in a very simple manner. East is the one open to the suspicion of being short in clubs. The first club should he won with the king not the ace. Then a low club is led from dummy.

WHAT IS EAST to do? If he ruffs, declarer gives up a little club and his work is over, If East discards as he should, declarer will win with the queen and enter dummy to lead another club, again forcing the enemy to play before he used an important club. Let us assume that East ducks again, the ace of clubs wins and the 10 of clubs is ruffed with dummy’s 5 of trumps. East can overruff but that is the only trick the defense can take.