The Sydney Morning Herald – 19 Oct 1989 by Greg Quittner

Never trust the opposition. How true this is when playing bridge. A clever opponent will be trying to deceive you at every opportunity. Let’s look at the following hand where all your guile is required to bring home a difficult contract. You hold the following hand as South and you are playing 3NT after your partner’s 1 opening bid:

Dealer North, None Vulnerable

West leads the 6 and partner produces the following hand:

 KQ1084  J2  AQ9  542 It appears you have a lot of work ahead. The spade suit looks to have possibilities, and the heart suit is not without promise. East wins the lead with the A and returns the 7. You win with the K and lead the 9.

West plays the 3 and you must now decide which card to play from dummy. The textbook tells you to play the 4, so you do. East plays the 2, so your 9 holds the trick. What’s going on? Maybe West has the  AJ ; or maybe East is fooling.

You lead the 6 and West plays the 7. As you have entries to dummy you finesse the 8. East wins with the jack and switches to the 3.

The fact remains that East/West combined beautifully to misguide you in the play.
You play the 4 from hand and West wins with the You play the A. West continues with a club, with East discarding a small diamond as you win in hand with the Q. You now realise that if you cross to dummy’s ace of diamonds in order to lead another spade, West will win with the ace (if he has it) and cash two club tricks. So you decide to play on hearts. You play a diamond to the ace and lead the J. East plays the 7 and you play the 9. Alas! West wins with the Q and cashes two club tricks. You really have been done like a dinner!

The full hand was:

It’s all very well to say after the hand that you could have made this contract if you had played the Q at trick two. The fact remains that East/West combined beautifully to misguide you in the play. East did his part by ducking the first spade, and West followed this up by winning the heart switch with the ace, thereby lulling you into the secure feeling that East held the queen of hearts.

When opponents defend like this, it’s time to take up canasta!