Neither vulnerable. North deals.


xK 8 5

uA Q J 9 4

v7 5

wA Q 7


x3 xA Q 7

u10 8 7 6 2 u3

v10 9 2 vA Q J 8 4 3

wJ 9 6 5 w10 4 3


xJ 10 9 6 4 2

uK 5

vK 6

wK 8 2

The bidding:


1u 2v 2x Pass

4x Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: Ten of v

How highly do you rate your technique? Cover the East and West hands and decide how you would play four spades after West leads the ten of diamonds and East inserts the jack.

If you are among those who do not open one no trump holding a five-card major and a low doubleton on the side, you should have an auction identical to the above. South clearly has a two-spade bid after East’s overcall, and if you raise to only three spades, you are asking partner to do your work for you.

West leads the ten of diamonds and East produces the jack. It seems you cannot possibly lose more than two trumps and a diamond. Is there any danger to the contract? How do you continue?

With East marked for virtually every missing high card, there is only one threat to the spade game — that East can obtain a ruff. Suppose you win the first trick with the king of diamonds and run the jack of spades. That loses to East’s queen and back comes a heart. You win in hand and lead another trump to the king and ace. East returns a low diamond to West’s nine, and the heart return gives East the ruff for the one-trick set.

Excellent defense by East — that jack of diamonds at trick one was a thoughtful move. But it is a relatively simple matter to counter once you realize why East did not take the first trick. After winning the king of diamonds, exit with a diamond. That simple maneuver cuts the communications between the defenders, and there is no way you can go down. What a simple game bridge is!

2012 Tribune Media Services

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