THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
FIRST THE LEAD, THEN THE DEFENSE
Alvin Toffler, a writer and futurist who coined the term information overload, said, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
That is an interesting thought — but do you agree?
First, look at today’s West hand. What would you lead against three no-trump?
This auction must be by far the most common that ends in a game contract.
Length and majors rule in this situation. So West should lead a spade. But since his suit contains no honor, he should choose the nine, top of nothing when the top two cards are touching. (With, say, 9-7-6-4 of spades, he would lead the seven, second-highest.)
Now look at the North and East hands. How should East plan the defense after declarer calls for dummy’s spade four?
East, reading the lead, should realize that South has the spade jack and queen. So, there is no point in winning with the ace and playing another spade. There won’t be time to establish and run the spades. After taking the first trick, East should shift to the heart queen. And as you can see, that works rather well, resulting in down two.
Finally, did you notice South’s one chance? At trick one, under East’s spade ace, he should drop his jack or queen, trying to look like someone who started with queen-jack-doubleton. Then East will be sorely tempted to return his spade 10, which lets the contract make.
Declarer should try to make the defenders misread the deal.