Writers’ weekly 2 | Are you a defender?

It is the defence who makes you a true master at the bridge table. Almost everybody manages a squeeze when declaring, only the best players put up great defence.

This hand came up during a pairs tournament. Try to defend as east.

The bidding gave a lot of information. South is holding a 15-18 hcp and balanced hand. Based on the bidding you can be sure he has 3 or 4 spades.

West leads the 4 of hearts, 3rd and 5th leads, 2, 8, queen.

Next is 2 of spades, 4, jack, ace.

How would you defend from here?

East could see there was little to nothing to do with the contract. If south held diamonds length with A10 or strong clubs there was nothing more to do than giving west a heart ruff since dummy would discard the hearts. So a heart ruff then waiting for a diamond trick seemed to be the best plan.

East led the ten of heart, south played low and west ruffed. A diamond was returned, 8, queen, ace. The Cards looked like this

Declarer pulled trumps, and grabbed the clubs ending up in this position

East was squeezed when the 7 of spades was played. 11 tricks didn’t leave much match points to EW.

Sorry, I should probably just play a club. East felt he had done something wrong.

I do believe we end up in a similar position, south was in control.

Basically, the same play brings this position

On the 7 of spades you have to discard a heart. South can endplay you in diamonds of just discard a diamond and give you a heart. 11 tricks on both variations.

How about turning the king of diamonds instead?

Again, a similar position will occur. Declarer clearing the clubs and spades to this position

The 7 of spades gives you a hard time, you have to discard a diamond and experience the same endplay in diamonds.

Well, at least we tried. East was relieved he couldn’t do anything.

South turned to east; you had the chance to make a very strong defence. Do you see how you could have held it down to 10 tricks?

How about playing the king of hearts? I must play the ace and west ruff. A diamond to the queen removes the ace and kills the communications needed to make the squeeze.

Just try, it will end up you are winning a diamond trick in the end and likely a lot more MP’s on your side.