J 6 5 3
A K Q
Q J 5 4 3 2
10 6 4
A 10 9 7
A K 8 4
K 10 9 2
10 9 7 6 5 2
A Q 4
9 7 5 3 2
Q J 3
Against 4 ♥
, the defense doesn't do itself any good to
play the ♦ A
and a diamond ruff, followed by a club.
Declarer ruffs in dummy, promoting a trump trick in the West hand, but
compensates by playing one round of trumps (drawing East's last trump)
and then running diamonds, pitching two clubs. On the fifth diamond
the situation is:
West can ruff with his natural trump trick, but then declarer has the
rest of the tricks. If West holds off, declarer cashes the
, then finesses in spades and still only has one
So the diamond ruff is not the way to go. How about trying to promote
more tricks with club forces? If West leads a high club, declarer
ruffs in North, and attacks diamonds. If West wins
the first diamond and gives East a diamond ruff, East can continue a club,
forcing a ruff in dummy, but then we are at this position:
Now, North cashes a heart and pitches a spade on a high diamond,
takes the spade finesse, then forces out West's ♥ 10
The second forced club ruff did not gain a trump trick, and, South got
an edge by having a club set up for him.
Okay, so say West ducks the first diamond, and wins the second, then
plays another high club. North ruffs at this position:
Declarer finesses in spades, and crosses to the ♥ A
then plays off a top diamond, pitching a small spade at this
East can ruff, but it does not help the defense, which gets only
Part of the reason club leads don't work is it establishes
a club in the South hand. Look at the previous end-position
if South's remaining club is a small one:
Now, if North leads a high diamond, East can ruff and South can
only pitch one of his losers.
This is the essential asymmetry - if East leads clubs, the
defense can avoid setting up a club trick in the South hand. If
East leads a club, declarer ruffs in the North hand and attacks diamonds.
West can now win the first diamond, give East a diamond ruff and East leads
another club, West covering, dummy ruffing again at this position:
If declarer leads a low diamond, to set up the suit, then East
pitches a club, South ruffs, crosses to the ♥ A
, and plays
diamonds. But now the ♦ J
gives South one pitch,
but not two, and if he plays a long diamond next, it promotes
another trump trick for West.
There are other variations of this line to evaluate, but they
are essentially equivalent.
Against spades, the defense has two natural spade tricks and the
Any diamond ruffs will be with natural trump tricks, so that can't be
the source of extra tricks. Hearts can't work. So we're back at the
If South doesn't ruff any diamonds, West has two diamonds. Setting
up hearts in the South hand does not improve the situation for North.
So the only choices are attacking trumps and diamonds. Trumps are
risky - if East gets in with his long trumps he can run a lot of clubs.
So suppose North leads a diamond to the king, West wins the
exits with a spade. Declarer wins the ♠ Q
(East and North
ducking.) We are at this position:
South to lead.
If South leads a diamond, East ruffs and continues clubs, forcing
North to ruff:
Declarer still is angling for a diamond ruff.
Against 5 ♦
, West has two natural trump tricks. His
goal is to kill the South hand and keep him from pitching spades on
long hearts. So West leads a spade, ducked by North and dummy, South
winning the ♠ Q
. Suppose South leads a low trump from
hand (to draw East's only trump,) West forced to duck the ace to avoid
giving up his second trump trick. Then declarer cashes the
and crosses to the ♠ A
and plays a
This is not a success for declarer - West ruffs the heart, keeping declarer
from pitching more than one spade.
And if declarer tries to draw West's trumps before attack hearts, West
wins a trump and continues spades.
On the other hand, if East is on lead, he can't damage declarer by
leading spades. A low spade fails to kill the entry, and leading
the ♠ K
means that declarer only needs one pitch.