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44 - December 2023

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Deducing distributions

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TO IMPROVE YOUR DEFENSIVE PLAY, YOU NEED TO ANALYZE THE COMPOSITION OF THE SUIT THAT PARTNER HAS LED FROM, AND THEN DEDUCE DECLARER’S AND PARTNER’S DISTRIBUTION.

WNES
1♣
Pass1Pass1NT
Pass3NT

Lead: ♠8, for dummy’s 3, your Jack and declarer’s 2.

How do you see the continuation?

The 8 of Spades lead is “top of nothing” from three cards, which means that declarer has two. Besides, the bidding marks him with not more than three Hearts and fewer Diamonds than Clubs, so he has specifically five Clubs (with six he would have bid 2♣). This means that there is no urgency to open the Clubs, leave that to declarer. Continue setting up the Spades, by returning the Queen, specifically, in order to pin South’s 10. You will collect two Spades, two Clubs and a Diamond.

WNES
2♠
Pass2NTPass3♣
3♣4♠

Lead: K, for your partner’s 10 and South’s 7.

What do you return?

When East follows with the 10 (count), this indicates four cards. Therefore, South had only one Heart. Concerning Clubs, declarer has the Ace (he bid 3♣). You can count four trump tricks and six tricks in the minors, which is ten potential tricks! If you want to beat this, you need to create a Club ruff for your partner. Thus, play a Club at trick two and every time you get in with a Spade. Autopsy: One down!

WNES
2NT
Pass3NT

Lead: 8 for partner’s 2 and declarer’s 10.
The latter then plays the Jack of Clubs.

To cover or not to cover?

Looking at dummy, you realize that with only two Clubs declarer could be running out of communications. If you do not cover, your partner will have to duck (or a second finesse will allow declarer to get four Club tricks) and declarer will then have no trouble finding his ninth trick in the majors. If, on the other hand, you cover the Jack then dummy is dead, and good defense will hold South to eight tricks. It’s not dishonorable to cover an honor with an honor

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Vincent Gallais
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