Bridge column, October 13: How can you keep east off the lead?
This deal was also in yesterday's column. Today, we will try to know what is best for South. He is in four hearts. West leads the spade king and East signals with the jack. What should South do?
North made a negative double, showing four hearts (or perhaps five or six when not strong enough to respond two hearts). South jumped aggressively to game.
South has a lot of losers: one spade, one or more hearts and one or two diamonds. This means that trumps need to be 3-2. And if so, declarer has enough tricks if he can draw trumps and run the clubs without first losing four tricks. How might South lose too many tricks?
Based on the bidding, West is likely to have the diamond ace, so if East gains the lead and shifts to that suit, South will surely lose at least one spade, one heart and two diamonds. How can East be kept off the lead?
Perhaps with difficulty! But there are two steps South should take. First, he must duck at trick one; otherwise, East will have a spade entry. Second, he must begin trumps by leading a low one from his hand. With this layout, as we saw yesterday, if South starts by cashing the heart ace, West can defeat the contract by sacrificing his king under the ace. Then East would gain the lead in hearts for the lethal diamond shift.
This deal is not easy, but the entry-creating and entry-denying themes are important.
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