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Sneak Attacks

Q 4
A Q J 3 2
J 9 5 3
10 5
10 3 2
K 10 4
K Q 7 6 2
J 2
 
9 7 5
9 8 7 6 5
A
A K Q 4
A K J 8 6
10 8 4
9 8 7 6 3

Notrump

With East/West on lead, they can unblock the diamond ace, cross to the club jack, take two more diamonds, and three more clubs.
But North/South can only take six top tricks. How do they stop East/West from taking seven tricks? They take the top five spades, North pitching two hearts and a club, then South exits a club.
This sneak attack in the opponents' club suit forces East/West to spend one club entry or another before the diamond ace is unblocked. If West plays low, East winning, then East can unblock the diamond and cross to the club jack for two more diamonds, but then they can't cash the remaining two clubs. If West wins, he has used his club entry before East has unblocked the diamond ace.
Either way, North/South get two more tricks, either a diamond and a heart, or two hearts.

Spades

With East/West on defense, they unblock the diamond ace, cross to the club jack, and take two more top diamonds. Now West must shift to a spade, another attack in an a strong suit held by the opponents.
South's spades are strong enough that he can afford to ruff a club in dummy with the queen for his seventh tricks, but this spade lead lets the defense prevent it. North appears to have a diamond trick established, but there in no entry to the North hand after drawing trumps, and East just ruffs if North plays the diamond before trumps are drawn.
If East/West get into an unlikely spade contract, North/South just defend as they defend against notrump, running five spades and exiting in clubs.

Hearts

If North/South declare hearts, the defense starts as usual - diamond ace, club to the jack, two more top diamonds. Then West leads a club to East, and East leads a third round of the suit, West ruffing high, establishing a third trump trick for the defense.
If East/West declarer hearts, the defense starts with three top spades, North pitching a club. When South leads a fourth spade, North pitches his last club:
A Q J 3 2
J 9 5 3
10
K 10 4
K Q 7 6 2
J 2
 
9 8 7 6 5
A
A K Q 4
J 8
10 8 4
9 8 7 6 3
Pitching the clubs has severed the East/West hands almost completely.
If East/West try to avoid giving North two club ruffs with his small trumps, they are stuck leading hearts and diamonds. On heart leads, declarer gets three natural heart tricks (with the king onside) and every time exits in diamond. If East ruffs the fourth diamond (which will be good,) that sets up a long heart in the North hand.

Diamonds

With East/West declaring in diamonds, the defense starts with a spade to the queen, A, heart ruff, two more top spades, North pitching a club, and a fourth spade at this position:
Q J 3
J 9 5 3
10
K
K Q 7 6 2
J 2
 
9 8 7
A
A K Q 4
J 8
10 8
9 8 7 6
North pitches a club whatever East/West do. The defense has taken five tricks, and North has a natural trump trick coming, so they just need one more trick. If East ruffs the spade with the diamond ace, that promotes a second trick for North. Bad plan. Similarly if West ruffs high. So West must ruff low.
West can't lead a heart (it gives South another ruff) or a club (North ruffs and gives South a ruff) so he must lead a diamond, but then East is stuck leading clubs or hearts, and the defense scores its seventh trick.
The position above is interesting. If West ruffs low and North chooses to overruff, East ruffs with the ace, crosses to the club jack (since North still has one), takes two top diamonds and exits a diamond, retaining a club entry still left to East and no more losers. Only the club pitch works here.
If North/South declare diamonds, the defense starts with a diamond to the ace, a club back to the jack, two more top diamonds and and then more clubs. Whenever North ruffs, West is left with two small trumps, and the defense ultimately takes five diamonds and two clubs.

Clubs

If North/South declare clubs, the defense attacks in its usual fashion - diamond ace, club to jack, two top diamonds, and three more clubs.
If East/West declare clubs, the defense starts with two top spades, a spade ruff, the heart ace, South pitching a diamond, and finally the club ten.
Q J 3 2
J 9 5 3
10
K 10
K Q 7 6 2
K 2
 
9 8 7 6
A
A K Q 4
J 8
10 8
9 8 7 6 3
This has the usual affect of forcing East/West to win a club entry early, but it seems like East/West should be able to make seven tricks some way. How will North/South manufacture three tricks?
Say East wins in hand, cashes the diamond ace, and leads a heart. South doesn't take the bait, and instead pitches his last diamond and West is wins the king to this position:
Q J 3
J 9 5
10
K Q 7 6
J
 
9 8 7
K Q 4
J 8
9 8 7 6
If West plays a top diamond, South ruffs and exits a club. On a second top diamond, South ruffs again and exits a spade, East force to ruff high.
Other lines are similar.

Complexity

This is another complexity three deal, with only the diamonds suit being par-zero on its own.
<< Heart Blockage
Thomas Andrews (bridge@thomasoandrews.com), © 1999-2014.
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