DEPT. OF DEFENSE (II) by Stephen Rzewski vul: N-S matchpoints 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: North ♠ 10 ♥ J754 ♦ A10962 ♣ 753 West East ♠ Q982 ♠ 64 ♥ K9 ♥ AQ102 ♦ 875 ♦ QJ43 ♣ J642 ♣ K109 South ♠ 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.