Gainesville Sun – 26 Oct 1991
Opening lead — king of clubs.
It is one thing to know how to execute an endplay if you are the declarer, but knowing how to avoid one as a defender is an entirely different matter. Consider this case where East-West had to defend flawlessly to stop South from making four spades. First, let’s suppose West leads the K-A and another club, ruffed by declarer. South enters dummy with a heart and leads the queen of spades.
After East follows low, South decides that, given the bidding, he has a better chance to make the contract by attempting an endplay than by finessing in trumps. Accordingly, he goes up with the ace of spades, cashes two more hearts and exits with a trump. There is no escape for West. He must either lead a diamond or yield a ruff-and-discard by returning a heart.
Either way, South avoids losing a diamond trick and makes the contract.
Now let’s go back to trick one when West leads the king of clubs. East should drop the queen under the king at this point to show that he has the jack. West can see that if he continues with the ace of clubs he might run into an endplay later on, so he leads the three of clubs at trick two in an effort to forestall that possibility.
After East wins the club with the ten, he does not have to be an Einstein to realize that a third club lead would be ruffed by declarer. East also sees that West’s purpose in underleading the ace of clubs at trick two must be to coax a diamond return at trick three. So East returns a diamond, and the contract goes down the drain.
The endplay is throttled before it is born.