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Posted on Fri, Dec 9, 2011 : 5 a.m.

Bridge column, December 9: Defenders may need to be patient

By Phillip Alder

This week we have been studying deals in which declarer has had to be patient, even sacrificing one trick to get at least two in return. However, the defenders sometimes also must show patience.

How should East and West card to try to defeat this contract of three no-trump after West leads the spade queen?

When South rebid two no-trump, North correctly raised to three no-trump. With a long minor, no singleton or void, and no thought of a slam, responder should either raise to three no-trump or sign off in three of his suit (if that is possible and he is sure that three no-trump will not make).

South starts with six top tricks: two spades, two hearts, one diamond and one club. He must make something of dummy's diamonds. And the correct plan is to take two finesses.

So, declarer wins the first trick in his hand and plays a diamond to dummy's 10. Now East must play low in tempo. If he takes the trick or spends some time considering that option, South will end up with an overtrick or two. But as long as East ducks smoothly, the defense is still alive.

Declarer will cross to his hand and lead his second diamond. Now it is West's turn in the spotlight. If he plays the nine, South should realize that if West started with K-J-9-3 of diamonds, the contract is hopeless. In desperation, South will call for the diamond ace and be pleasantly surprised when the king drops.

Instead, West must play his jack, looking like someone who started with the tripleton K-J-3. Then South will surely call for dummy's queen and go down four!

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