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   Nov.  18/99






by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish


 One of the intriguing features of bridge is the two-way nature of strategic and technical actions. Accurate bidding may help you to reach the best contract, but may also tip off the most promising defense. A defender might signal useful information to his partner, but declarer may intercept the message and turn its "contents" to his own advantage. Indeed, even assets being employed in an obvious way may at times be turned against the side using them. Today's deal illustrates the concept.

Both sides vulnerable East deals

  Q 5
K J 10 6
A 9 8 3

7 4 2

K 7 3
7 5 4
10 7

K Q J 10 3

J 10 9 2
9 3 2
Q J 5 4 2


  A 8 6 4
A Q 8
K 6

A 8 6 5


West North East South
    Pass 1NT
Pass 2 Pass 2
Pass 3NT End  

Opening Lead:

 South declared 3NT after a routine Stayman sequence. After West's natural lead of the
K, South's mission seemed straightforward. He had eight top tricks - one spade, four hearts, two diamonds, and one club - and, unless clubs were three-three (unlikely after the lead), the only chance for a ninth trick lay in spades. Declarer planned to lead up to dummy's Q, setting up the vital trick if West held the king.

 There was no reason to win the first club, but when South ducked and East showed out on the second club, it had suddenly become clear that leading towards the
Q could not be a winning play. If East had the king, the queen would lose, and if West had the king he would take it and cash enough clubs to set 3NT.

 Although West's club suit was his most potent asset, declarer found a different way to take advantage of West holding the
K that involved using West's own suit as a weapon against him. Declarer won the second club and ran four rounds of hearts, West parting with a spade, then played ace and king of diamonds, which stripped West of his remaining red cards. West could see the writing on the wall - declarer led a club, giving him the lead to run his suit. When he was finished with his clubs the defence had four tricks, but then West was forced to lead a spade, allowing declarer to make the ace and queen, and with them his contract.

 South needed some luck to succeed, but he could not have done so without turning the threat of West's club suit into a fatal liability. How curious!