Source: The Spokesman-Review – 25 Sep 1936

Click here to read Unblocking Part I

Third Unblocking Method Involves Sluffing one Partner’s Lead.

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

For the convenience of students, I have separated the unblocking principle in 10 method groups. The list follows: (1) Unblocking by overtake; (2) unblocking by underplay; (3) unblocking by sluff on partner’s lead; (4) unblocking by sluff on opponent’s lead; (5) unblocking by defensive underplay; (6) the holdup; (7) the duck; (3) the Bath coup; (9) the Deschappels coup; (10) entries miscellaneous.

Sample of No.3. In part 1 I show you methods 1 and 2 from the above list. Today you will get a sample of No. 3. unblocking by sluff on partner’s lead. The hand is shown above. The contract is six hearts, South is declarer.

West made an opening lead of a club. South counts the chances of making the contract. He sees possible losers in spades and hearts if finesses do not work. Anyway, he knows that a finesse should not be considered until other principles of play are studied. By an early process of elimination he sees the unblocking principle present.

Sluff Ace, King. He takes the first trick with the ace of clubs in dummy, playing the queen from South hand. While in dummy hand, he immediately leads the king and jack of clubs. On these two leads from the partner hand he unblocks the diamond suit by sluffing the ace and king of diamonds. Dummy is still in the lead to lead out the queen, jack and ten of diamonds in a row. On these three diamond leads from dummy South sluffs the king, jack and ten of spades.

Thereafter, it makes no difference whether the trump finesse works or not. Even if it does not work, the contract is made. But it does work, so declarer makes all 13 tricks, And it looked as if he had to lose two spade tricks, didn’t It? Unblocking is funny that way.