Both vulnerable. South deals.


x7 5 3

uK 10 6

vK 2

wA Q 10 5 4


xA K 10 6 xJ 9 4

u7 4 3 u5 2

v9 8 6 4 vQ J 10 5 3

w7 2 wK 8 6


xQ 8 2

uA Q J 9 8

vA 7

wJ 9 3

The bidding:


1u Pass 2w Pass

3w Pass 3u Pass

4u Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: King of x

The language of communication in the play of a hand consists of signaling. As a defender, if you like partner’s lead you follow with as high a card in the suit as you can spare. To discourage, you play a low card. Not as well known is the fact that declarer can sometimes accomplish the same thing by following exactly the same guidelines!

The auction was routine. With a double fit, reaching game was automatic. At worst, it would depend on the club finesse and, without the mirror distribution in spades and diamonds, it could have been cold.

West led the king of spades and East discouraged by playing the four. South routinely contributed the deuce. West shifted to a diamond. In the fullness of time declarer had to take the club finesse. As soon as East gained the lead with the king of clubs, the jack of spades was returned. The defenders cashed two more tricks in that suit for a one-trick set.

There was no sure way for declarer to avoid defeat. However, declarer could have helped his cause by applying the principle outlined above. South should have followed to the first trick with the eight of spades!

With the two of spades missing from view, West might have thought East was echoing, asking for a spade continuation holding Q 4 2 in the suit.

If West does continue with a spade, the queen becomes the fulfilling trick and the club finesse is for an overtrick.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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