Source: http://taigabridge.net/

Dealer South. N/S Vul

Q 9 6 2
3
J 9 8 7 4
A Q J
10 8 7 3
Q 9 6
K
K 8 7 6 2
 





West North East South
1
Pass 1 Pass 1NT
Pass 2 End

You are West, on lead against 2after a quiet auction. You lead a small club to the J, 9 and 4. How much do you know about partner’s and declarer’s hand? A player in the habit of counting will know the distribution of all four suits already!

Think about the clues: South opened 1and rebid 1NT – no 5-card heart suit, and probably no singleton or void. She passed out 2rather than taking a preference back to 2— unlikely to have three spades. Partner didn’t have enough to overcall in hearts so he doesn’t have a good 6-card suit. Assembling all the clues, South should have 2 spades, 4 hearts, 4 diamonds, and 3 clubs, making partner 3-5-3-2. Partner’s high 9 confirms the expected club split. (It is just remotely possible that partner has 4 spades and declarer is 1-4-5-3, or partner has 6 lousy hearts and declarer is 2-3-5-3.) As for high cards, the 1NT rebid shows 12-14, so simple subtraction places your partner with 8-10.

On this “boring” deal, you certainly aren’t going to beat 2. But you and your partner can defend almost as well as if you could see through the backs of the cards, while declarer is still going to have to guess how suits are breaking, and may slip up choosing between pulling trump and ruffing losing hearts. The full deal is shown down. Declarer had 12 HCP and 2-4-4-3 pattern, as expected. These routine hands are your chance to practice your counting, so that when you face a critical decision at trick two defending a slam, you’ll find it much easier to figure out what to do.

The four hands:

Q 9 6 2
3
J 9 8 7 4
A Q J
10 8 7 3
Q 9 6
K
K 8 7 6 2
A J 4 
K 8 7 4 2
Q 3 2
9 3
K 5
A J 10 5
A 10 6 5
10 5 4