THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
A DEAL TO DECLARE OR TO DEFEND
In golf, there is usually more than one way to hit a shot to the green — assuming, of course, you are skillful enough to do that.
In bridge, many deals give only one side a chance to do something meritorious: declarer or the defense. But sometimes both sides will have an opportunity, although one side might require the other to err. That applies in this deal.
Would you prefer to declare or defend in three no-trump after West leads a diamond to dummy’s bare ace?
If you like to declare, look at only the North-South hands and plan the play.
Alternatively, cover the West and South hands. At trick two, declarer leads the club king from the board. How would you, East, defend?
South starts with only six top tricks: two spades, one heart and three diamonds. The other tricks must come from clubs, but dummy is short of entries. South should be happy to lose two club tricks and to do it as quickly as possible. So, at trick two, he leads a low club from the board. After that, everything is under control. If the defenders must get two tricks in a suit you wish to establish, make them take those tricks as quickly as possible.
If South makes the mistake of starting with a club honor at trick two, East can defeat the contract by ducking, letting declarer take the trick. Then South lacks the dummy entries to establish and run the suit.