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This column has been printed here with permission from Bridge Magazine

1

North
K 9 5 3
Q
A K J 10 3
J 10 4
East
A 10 2
8 7 5 3
7 2  
A Q 9 2

WEST   NORTH   EAST   SOUTH

    1     Pass     1    

     Pass     1     Pass     2NT

     Pass     3NT     All Pass     

Partner leads the seven of clubs (second and fourth). Dummy plays the ten. Which card do you play?

2

North
A K J
A J 9
A J 9 7 4
10 9
East
9
Q 10 7 6
Q 10 8 3
K Q 8 4 

WEST   NORTH   EAST   SOUTH

    1     Pass 1NT

     Pass     3NT     All Pass     

West leads the six of spades, won by the ace. Dummy leads the ten of clubs. How do you play your clubs? 

SOLUTIONS TO TEST YOUR DEFENCE with Julian Pottage 

1

North
K 9 5 3
Q
A K J 10 3
J 10 4
West
Q 8 6
K 9 4 2
9 6 4
8 7 3
East
A 10 2
8 7 5 3
7 2  
A Q 9 2
South
J 7 4
A J 10 6
Q 8 5
K 6 5 

At the table, the declarer failed to put up an honour from dummy, meaning the problem did not arise. East had an easy play of the nine (playing low would also have worked). 

As it is, if the lead is from four cards, you can afford to duck. The king will come down on the next round. Of course, if partner has four, communications are fluid anyway.

If you take the ace, you cannot return the suit safely unless the lead is from four. You would only take it if you intend to switch. That does not look right here. Your best chance surely is to make three clubs, a spade and one trick in partner’s hand.

The correct card to play is the queen, which loses to the king. You then wait for partner to gain the lead in hearts to continue clubs through dummy’s J-x.

2

North
A K J
A J 9
A J 9 7 4
10 9
West
10 8 7 6 4 2
K 5 4 2
K 6
7
East
9
Q 10 7 6
Q 10 8 3
K Q 8 4 
South
Q 5 3
8 3
5 2
A J 6 5 3 2

The original East covered the ten of clubs with the queen. Declarer won with the ace and returned the two. When West showed out, East allowed the nine to hold. Unable to set up the club suit, declarer went down.

‘Why not duck the club?’ North queried. ‘Even if they are 3-2, East could hold up and kill the suit. If you play for the king-queen onside, you have the entries to set up and run the suit.’ 

‘I guess I should not have covered in that case,’ East remarked. ‘With my eight of clubs, it looked right to cover the ten and nine. I suppose if I duck on the first round and cover on the second, declarer makes only two club tricks, which is not enough.’

West smiled. ‘At least, you knew not to signal with your eight of clubs. By the way you might have to exit with the three of diamonds if declarer tries an endplay.’