# Dormer on Discovery

## Discovery of high cards (cont.)

Last week we saw that when declarer is bent on discovering the location of certain key cards in the opposing hands, he can sometimes achieve his goal by first forcing out those high cards that do not affect his contract. In attempting to ferret out this type of information, declarer’s job is made that much simpler if the opponents have entered the bidding. For example, observe how declarer can avoid a guess in the diamond suit by proper play on theis deal:

Dlr: East ♠ K Q J 9
Vul: None A 7 5 4
K J
♠ 3 ♣ A 9 6 ♠ A 2
10 9 8 2 K Q 6
A 10 5 3 Q 9 8 6
♣ 10 5 3 2 ♠ 10 8 7 6 5 4 ♣ K Q 8 7
J 3
7 4 2
♣ J 4
 East South West North 1NT* Pass Pass Dbl Pass 2♠ Pass 3♠ All Pass

*15-17 HCP
East opens 1NT, indicating 15-17 points, and you, South, become declarer at 3♠. You play low from the dummy on the opening heart lead and East plays the queen. East exits with the ♠A and another trump and, with a certain club loser to come, your problem is to avoid losing two diamond tricks.
In view of the bidding, it would seem that East is a distinct favorite to hold the A, in which case, you would have no choice but to play West for the queen. However, a bit of discovery play may lead to a different conclusion.
From West’s opening lead of the 10 and East’s play to the first trick, plus his failure to return a heart at trick two, it seems likely that East has the K-Q of that suit. You could confirm this diagnosis by ruffing a heart or two, but such a procedure would serve to put the opponents on their guard, and on balance it is probably better to assume the heart situation is as you have read it. Therefore, at trick four you lead a low club from dummy. In the actual hand East will probably play the queen, thus becoming marked with the ♣KQ to go along with the KQ and the ♠A. Since the A would give him a total of 18 points (one more than his range permits), you should now play West for that card.
Note that, to mislead you, East may well play the ♣K rather than the queen when you lead one from dummy. This would not cause you an awful lot of trouble in actual case, since when you next got in you could lead the ♣J and draw the appropriate conclusion when West failed to cover. Nevertheless, a fine defender does try to make the declarer’s lot a less happy one by employing the art of concealment, as it is called. Sometimes the declarer’s attempts at discovery and the defenders’ efforts at concealment may lead to a prolonged battle of wits, as when this deal was played:

Dlr: North ♠ J 8 7 6
Vul: None 9 3
J 10 8 5 2
♠ A Q 10 5 ♣ 6 4 ♠ K 9 4 3 2
Q 5 2 A 7 4
6 7 4
♣ Q 10 7 3 2 ♠ — ♣ K J 5
K J 10 8 6
A K Q 9 3
♣ A 9 8
 North East South West Pass Pass 1♥ Pass Pass 1♠ 3♦ 4♠ 5♦ All Pass