Source: BBO 

Oren Lidor
Oren Lidor

On the first chapters of these coming articles I will write about important matters on defense.

Chapter 1: When you have to lead to a trick

When talking about your lead, I don’t mean the opening lead itself, which is another subject. I mean, the time that a defender wins a trick and needs to lead to another trick. After making up your mind which suit you want to play, you need to choose the right card in this suit*.

*A) and B) are for intermediate level. C) is for advanced.

A) From a remaining doubleton, play high – low

Heart is trump.

You had bid spades during the auction, so your partner leads the A and continues with the 3 to your K:

J65
A3 KT942
Q8

Declarer played the 8 on the A, and then the Q to the next trick. Where is the 7?

With declarer! If partner would still have 73, he would have continued with the 7. Play a 3rd spade for your partner to ruff.

B) If you lead your 4th best and you have a suit longer than 4 cards – Play a lower card next, if possible, to show partner you hold a longer suit.

A7
3 J65
Q

Against 3NT, your partner leads the 3, which shows his long suit and promises an honor (without an honor partner leads 2nd best).

Declarer plays the 7 from dummy, you play the J and declarer wins the trick with the Q.

When partner won another trick he played the 2. That means he originally had 5 cards in spades, headed by the K (Kxx32). As the 3 was his 4th card in the suit, the 2 is his 5th.

If partner would have played a different card (higher than the 3), that would mean his original suit was a 4 carder (hence declarer also had 4 spades). Now you know your 3rd spade might be a vital entry for your side to cash 3 spade tricks in defense.

A7
K8432 J65
QT9

C) If you lead a low card from a new suit, you encourage partner to play that suit. If you play a relatively high card, you want another suit.

Here are 2 hands for advanced players:

1 a)

You lead the 3. Declarer played low from dummy, partner played the J and declarer won the trick with the Q, then played a heart.

Plan your defense.

1 b)

You lead the 3. Declarer played low from dummy, partner played the J and declarer won the trick with the Q, then played a heart.

Plan your defense.

2 a)

*2 = new minor forcing
**2 = 2-3-5-3 distribution

You lead the 3. Declarer played low from dummy, partner played the J and declarer won the trick with the Q. Next, declarer played a diamond to his J and another diamond to his Q which you won with your A.

Plan your defense.

2 b)

*2 = new minor forcing
**2 = 2-3-5-3 distribution

You lead the 3. Declarer played low from dummy, partner played the J and declarer won the trick with the Q. Next, declarer played a diamond to his J and another diamond to his Q which you won with your A.

Plan your defense.

Answers:

1 a) You lead the 3. Declarer played low from dummy, partner played the J and declarer won the trick with the Q, then played a heart.

The J from partner denied the A (else he plays it and returns a diamond). So declarer has 2 sure diamond tricks and 6 club tricks. Now he is trying to establish his 9th trick in hearts.

Partner is almost sure to have the A (without it declarer has already 9 tricks). So defense has the AK and the AQ. You need another trick. This trick is the K. However, playing a diamond from your hand is not good (declarer will make his 10). You need partner to play diamonds for you. So, you must play a spade to his hand and let him play diamonds.

Play the 8! That card will discourage partner from continuing spades after winning the A and make it easy for him to work out the diamond switch. If you play K and another spade, you will establish a spade as declarer’s 9th trick.

1 b) You lead the 3. Declarer played low from dummy, partner played the J and declarer won the trick with the Q, then played a heart.

If partner has the A, the defense has the A, A and the AQ. You need another trick. This time you need to establish the Q as a 5th trick for your side. So play the 3, to encourage spade continuation. Partner will win with the A, play another spade and declarer is doomed.

If declarer plays the K at trick 2 in order to set up his T, then win the Ace, play the 9 and establish the 8 as the setting trick: 2 diamonds, 1 spade and 2 hearts for the defense.

2 a) You lead the 3. Declarer played low from dummy, partner played the J and declarer won the trick with the Q. Next, declarer played a diamond to his J and another diamond to his Q which you won with your A.

From the 1st trick it’s obvious that declarer has the K. As you know declarer’s distribution to be 2-3-5-3, partner has 3 clubs too. So you need him to win the lead and play back a club (through declarer’s remaining Kx). For that, you need to find him with the A… But that’s not enough. After winning the A, he needs to figure out that you want him to play a club (he might continue with another heart).

So… Play the 8(!), to discourage heart continuation. Partner will win with the A, return a club and declarer goes 2 down.

2 b) You lead the 3. Declarer played low from dummy, partner played the J and declarer won the trick with the Q. Next, declarer played a diamond to his J and another diamond to his Q which you won with your A.

This time you know declarer has the A. He also set up his diamonds and he has 5 spade winners. So your only chance to set before declarer cashes his tricks is to attack hearts. Play the 2, indicating you want partner to give up on clubs and continue hearts. Partner wins the A, returns another heart this time and the defense wins 4 hearts and 1 diamond, setting the contract.

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