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Intermediate and newcomer players - sharpen your game with this series of tutorials. You can browse the index by topic, or read them in order. Learn even more at ACBL's Learn page.







                                                                     Brian Gunnell




♠ A



♣ KJT4



            Both Vulnerable

            South   West     North    East

                                     1         1

            1♠         2        Pass     Pass

            4♠         Pass    Pass     Pass


Sometimes the winning defense is obvious to one defender but not to the other, and in such cases it behooves the defender who is in the know to help out Partner as much as possible.  Todayís West missed such an opportunity.

♠ 9872



♣ Q9865



West            East



♠ 53



♣ A32


♠ KQJT64



♣ 7



Against 4♠, West led the A.  He shifted to the Heart Two and Eastís Queen was taken by Declarerís Ace.  At this point Declarer was home free if only she could draw trumps, but there were transportation problems.  After playing a Spade to Dummyís Ace, she had no fast way back to hand to draw the remaining trumps, so she exited with a Heart, won by Eastís King.


To West it was obvious that East should give him a Diamond ruff.  But it wasnít obvious to East.  No doubt he should have figured it out, but he had this fixed idea in his head that West had led a Diamond from AKx or AKxx.  So, seeing no rush for the defense to cash its winners, East exited with a Heart.  Declarer gratefully ruffed that, drew trumps, pitched the Club loser on the Diamonds, and claimed 11 tricks.  That was not an impressive performance by East but West could have made things crystal clear.  What could West have done to make Eastís life easier?