Janet de Botton

Bridge | 20 May 2023

In the real world many more contracts are made because the defence slipped up than because declarer did something brilliant. It is of course important to learn to communicate in defence, but we also need to learn to take charge and lead the way when the right path is clearly shown to us. When spotting a way to defeat a contract, don’t always assume that your partner has the same view of the land and will eagerly follow your plan.

This hand came up in an early round of the Spring Fours, in a match between two teams that were not among the favourites!

E/W elected not to take the sacrifice in 5◆, which in theory was a good decision.

West led the King of Spades and another to East’s Queen, and on the Ace of Spades he discarded the two of Diamonds. East tried a Diamond, but declarer ruffed and made the rest.

West was not happy; ‘I discarded the lowest Diamond so you’d know I had seven,’ he tried. ‘Maybe you could then work out that a trump promotion was the only chance?’

‘I thought you encouraged Diamonds,’ said his partner. ‘That’s why I tried to cash your Ace rather than go for the promotion.’

Who was right? Was either of them right?

Well, West knew for sure that another Spade would defeat the contract. On the third Spade, he should therefore discard the Ace of Diamonds (!).

And if partner still gets it wrong? It may be time for a change.

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