Source: Friday 25 June 1999 44th Generali European Bridge Championships

When the opponents bid a thin game and everything is working for them, the defenders must get their imagination going. Resorting to falsecards is a weak tool since declarer often must play for a certain layout. A more effective defence is to try and create losing options,to lure declarer from the right (only) path. Here is a successful example from Sweden’s match against Romania, signed, sealed and delivered by Mats Nilsland.

Dealer South All Vul

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

A J 10 9 8 2
A 8 4 3
K 10 2
West North East South
1
1 Pass 2 3
Pass 4 End

Opening lead: A

Declarer ruffed and was now destined to make the contract with the normal line of play. Hearts 2-2 with the king in position, the diamond king to the left and the ace of clubs to the right.

A diamond from hand, king from West and jack from East. Diamond continuation taken with the queen in dummy and now it seems that playing on hearts or clubs won’t matter.

If you start with clubs and they ruff away the ace of diamonds then you’ll get two ruffs in dummy instead. If declarer had played a heart nothing would have stopped him from making his contract, but playing a club seemed to be every bit as good.

Now look what happened when Mats took the ace and pretty much knowing the hand by now led the heart five! This gave declarer a choice that looked rather more appealing by now, thinking that the king might be offside. If West has a singleton K or Kx then rising with the ace and playing to ruff your losers in dummy works just fine, letting West ruff with the master trump if he wishes to.

Of course I wouldn’t write this if he had finessed. 6 IMPs to Sweden instead of 10 IMPs away compared to the partscore played at the other table.