Source: Ludington Daily News – 30 Oct 1986

Lead: Diamond Suit7

It’s no secret that, if each trick lost by sloppy defense since bridge began were one floor of a skyscraper, that tower of lost tricks would reach to the moon. Because that’s true, it’s easy for a declarer to be lulled into a false sense of security when it looks as if a defender may be making a mistake. That’s when it pays to know the name and background of the careless defender.

Our declarer at four hearts took the diamond ace and played the Q-K-A of hearts as defender East threw a low club and a low diamond. South then gave up a heart to West’s Jack as East let go another low club.

Of course declarer had kept all five spades in dummy, hoping that the defenders would try to cash two diamond tricks. He could then ruff the third diamond and perhaps run five spade tricks for an overtrick.

Sure enough, West led a diamond to East’s queen, and dummy was now down to the K-8 of clubs and the five spades. And now East, the “careless” defender, played a third round of diamonds. Declarer ruffed, throwing dummy’s low club, and then tried to run the spade suit.

Unfortunately East’s four spades to the jack prevented the suit from running, and now poor South had to lose two club tricks and go set in his game contract. The East defender was Alan Sontag, winner of numerous North American championships and one World Team Championship, who would never have failed to lead a club back unless he knew that the spades were not splitting.

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