Both vulnerable. South deals.


x7 5 3

uK 10 6

vK 2

wA Q 10 5 4


xA K 10 6 xJ 8 4

u7 4 3 u5 2

v9 8 6 4 vQ J 10 5 3

w7 2 wK 8 6


xQ 9 2

uA Q J 9 8

vA 7

wJ 9 3

The bidding:


1u Pass 2w Pass

2u Pass 4u Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: King of x

Most players know that defenders can communicate with each other by their carding, showing whether they like partner’s lead or not. Few are aware that declarer can use the same signals in an attempt to deceive the defense.

The auction was routine. Once South showed a minimum opener by rebidding two hearts, North had ample to go straight to game.

West led the king of spades, fetching the three, four and deuce. A diamond switch to trick two cost nothing — obviously a spade continuation ran the risk of setting up declarer’s queen. After drawing trumps declarer tried the club finesse, but that lost to East’s king. The jack of spades was returned and the defenders cashed two more tricks in the suit to complete a one-trick set.

There is no sure way for declarer to make his contract, but South should have attempted to enlist the aid of the defenders. At trick one declarer should have followed with the nine of spades! Consider West’s quandary. The deuce of spades was missing. If East held that card and was trying to encourage a spade continuation, a shift could cost a trick or two and possibly the contract. There is no guarantee that West would shift, but at least there is a fair chance that West would continue with a spade and present declarer with his contract.

The rule for declarer is exactly the same as for the partner of the leader: If you want the defender to continue the suit, play a high card; if you would prefer a shift, play the lowest card possible.

2013 Tribune Media Services

More like this from

  • June 20, 2013 midnight


  • June 12, 2011 midnight


  • November 8, 2016 midnight


  • May 9, 2012 midnight


  • May 30, 2013 midnight


Subscribe Today

Sign up for our email newsletter to receive daily news.

Want more? Click here to subscribe to either the Print or Digital Editions.