November 18th, 2005

Bridge Column

                              DEPT. OF DEFENSE (II)

                               by Stephen Rzewski

	          vul:  N-S
                                   North (dummy)

                                  ♠ 10
                                  ♥ J754
                                  ♦ A10962
                                  ♣ 753

                   West   (you)     
                  ♠ Q982                                              
                  ♥ K9                                                
                  ♦ 875                                               
                  ♣ J642

                    bidding:   N      E      S      W

                               P     1♦     1♠      P
                               P     dbl   redbl   1NT
                               P      P     2♠   (all pass)
   Trick #1:  you lead ♦5, 9, jack from partner, king from declarer.
         #2:  declarer leads ♥3, you play the king, 4, deuce.
         #3:  you continue with ♥9, 5, 10 from partner, 6.
         #4:  partner leads ♥Q, 8, you discard a diamond, 7.
         #5:  partner leads ♥A, declarer ruffs with ♠J …   ?

		    How do you defend from this point?

     *          *          *          *          *         *         * 

	The full deal:


                                  ♠ 10
                                  ♥ J754
                                  ♦ A10962
                                  ♣ 753

                 West                                   East

                ♠ Q982                                 ♠ 64
                ♥ K9                                   ♥ AQ102
                ♦ 875                                  ♦ QJ43
                ♣ J642                                 ♣ K109


                                  ♠ AKJ753
                                  ♥ 863
                                  ♦ K
                                  ♣ AQ8

	Don’t overruff declarer’s ♠J!  Look what happens if you do:  declarer
will now have an entry to the dummy (♠10), which will enable him to get a club
discard on the ace of diamonds.  He will then be able to take the club finesse
and draw your remaining trumps with the ace and king, to score up 9 tricks.

	If you discard instead of overruffing, you will not only deprive
declarer of access to dummy, but you will score two trump tricks instead of 
one.  Discarding effectively promotes your 9-8 of trumps to a second winner.

	At the table, West discarded a diamond at trick #5.  Declarer led a low
spade from his hand, hoping for West to duck.  West, understanding declarer’s 
problem, went up with the queen and led back the 9 of spades, trying to avoid 
the play of a minor suit.  Declarer did his best by winning the ace and king 
of trumps, then threw West back on lead with a small trump to the 8.  West now
had to break clubs, finessing his partner’s king, but South still had to concede
a slow club loser to West’s jack for down one.

	Refusing to ruff with the queen of trumps at the critical point in the 
hand resulted in a two-trick gain for the defense.

	There is one point about the auction worth mentioning:  one of the 
incentives for East’s re-opening double is to provide for the case where West
might have a penalty pass of 1Sx.  When South redoubles, a pass by West should 
still indicate a willingness to defend that contract; otherwise, if South were 
in trouble, he might be able to get the opponents to rescue him and pull the 
double by bluffing with a redouble.  Therefore, if West does not want to defend,
he must bid.

	Obviously, South would have done better to double 1NT instead of bidding
2♠, but these situations are often difficult to judge, as West might well have
had the 10 of spades, and his partner, North, could have been broke.