Some of the Story – page 13

Here is an extremely accurate defense from the fourth quarter (Board 24, Closed room):
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2 hearts promised at least 4-4 in the majors and 3-11 hcp.

Against 5 clubs doubled you lead the ace of spades. Partner gives you an encouraging 4 of spades – definitely promising the queen) and declarer follows. How do you continue?

It looks normal to continue with the king of spades and then decide where to go from there depending on which spade partner plays and what card declarer follows with. The only time you might have to do anything else than leading a third round of spades is if declarer has 10-9 doubleton in spades. If that’s the case partner will help you with a suit preference signal on the second spade (the 7 for hearts and the 5 for diamonds). If partner has a diamond honour you switch to a low diamond and can always set up what ever diamond trick(s) you have (if declarer plays a spade from dummy partner has to cover with the queen to avoid declarer pitching a diamond loser).

After a long thought you decide to play a low spade. That’s just a crazy play. By spending quite a bit of time finding the spade shift you have given away a lot of UI (unauthorized information) and partner wouldn’t really be allowed to put up the queen (because what would you have played with Ax after partner gave you an encouraging spade at trick one?).

Well, Ron puts up the queen of spades with ease at trick two. What would you switch to? You could argue that a partner underleading the spade would have something in diamonds, but couldn’t it also be that he needs a heart switch for this defense to cut down communications to dummy and kill the diamond suit in dummy? Anyway, Ron decides to switch to a low diamond. A cold blooded defense as you could come up with hands where declarer has a stiff king of diamonds and actually makes the contract. Declarer misguesses in diamonds, and Ron and Lotan collect 500 after a double dummy (but not the most ethical) defense. Are they that “good”, were they just lucky with the layout or did they have more information about what the hand looked like for what ever reason?

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