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Anticipation

Matchpoints
North Deals
Both Vul
From: OKbridge
10 8 4 3
A 8 6 5 4
9
7 4 3
 
K 6 2
J 10 9 3 2
K 10 8
A K
West North East South
Pass 1 1 NT
All Pass

Your partner leads the 10. How do you plan your defense?
Attacking hearts is probably futile; partner is likely to be void.
Perhaps partner led from Q-10-9-x-x and a side ace? That's a pipe-dream, of course, but certainly one worth playing for at imps.
Since this is matchpoints, perhaps you should worry about overtricks. Assuming declarer has the last three hearts, there is a danger of declarer squeezing you in hearts and diamonds.
So you win the A (so partner doesn't get deceived about the suit) and cash the second club (declarer dropping the jack). You then lead the 10 to smother the nine in dummy. If partner has a diamond card, you might be providing the entry to his clubs, if he did lead from Q-10-9-x-x.
As it is, declare wins the Q, partner discouraging. Declarer leads the Q, and partner follows low. What now?
You should duck. The end position you should fear is:
A 7
7
7 6
10
 
J 10
K
8
J
Q
On the play of the last club, you would be squeezed.
For declarer to get to this position, he needs to somehow cash the fourth spade without using the A entry. He might be able to do that if you win the K, on this deal:
10 8 4 3
A 8 6 5 4
9
7 4 3
A 9 7
7 6 5 4 2
10 9 8 5 4
 
K 6 2
J 10 9 3 2
K 10 8
A K
Q J 5
K Q 8
A Q J 3
Q J 6
If you win the K and exit anything, partner is under pressure to do the right thing when declarer next leads the J. Partner will have to duck the jack to break up the red suit squeeze against you. Perhaps he can see that, perhaps not. In any event, if you duck the Q, you won't have to worry about it.
As it was, you have to lead diamonds at some point to break up another heart/diamond squeeze, because otherwise declarer could have made the fourth spade his squeeze card in this position:
8
8 6
9
7 6
10 9
 
J
K 10 8
A Q J 3
On the last spade, you have to either pitch a diamond, giving declarer three diamond tricks, or the J, giving declarer two hearts and two diamonds.
Declarer can arrive at this position easily, because here he is allowed to use the A entry to finish the spades.
At the beginning, I implied setting up hearts was useless, and that was correct up to a point, but, in fact, leading hearts at every turn does break up the squeeze(s).
You win the first club, and fire back a high heart.
Declare attacks spades first. You win the second spade, fire back a low heart (which nominally lets declarer win his eight, but that gives declarer no new tricks.) declarer leads another spade, West winning. If West exits in clubs, you win and lead a third heart in this position:
10
A 8 6
9
7
7 6 5
10 9 8
 
10 9 2
K 10 8
7
A Q J 3
Q
By putting declarer in dummy before he has cashed his last club, you have left yourself some room to breath when the fourth spade is cashed.
! Declarer does no better attacking clubs first, because he can't afford to cash his established club before allowing your partner in with the spade.
So attacking hearts does work, but I prefer the diamond shift, as it protects against the red-suit squeezes and the possibility of partner holding Q and Q-10-9-x-x.
On this deal, you would get about 60% for holding declarer to two, and 30% for allowing three to make. Watch out for those overtricks.
<< An Ace Too Few
Thomas Andrews (bridge@thomasoandrews.com), © 1995-2009.
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