Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Different Views on Defense

Sometimes as a defender there are certain things we know about a hand that our partner doesn't know, whether it be from lack of experience, lack of thought, or simply having a different perspective on the deal.

There was a hand during the Swiss last weekend where I was defending a 3. I don't remember the whole hand but dummy started with xxxxx and KQxx of hearts after I had opened 1 and partner raised to 2. I don't remember the whole hand but at some point after I had taken my A and led a high club spot to declarer's ace, declarer drew trumps and, still having a heart entry to dummy, led a spade off dummy. I held AKx so I went up with the K, declarer dropping the J, and made what I thought was the most obvious club play, even after partner had discouraged clubs when I led them earlier when in with the A. The spades looked threatening to me and I thought leading more spades might set up a spade trick on dummy, allowing him to pitch a club loser on a good spade.

My partner did not see dummy's spade length as being a threat at all as he started with Qxxx in both black suits. Additionally, I had opened a 4 card heart suit (in 3rd seat, playing 2/1) so my partner didn't think there was another entry to dummy. That begs the question: "why didn't declarer pitch on the good heart in dummy before leading a spade?" On declarer played a couple of trumps and my partner decided that I must not have the A of spades because I didn't play it, and that I must have some good clubs because I led them after he signaled that he didn't like clubs, so he held his protected Q and pitched away his club trick.

In reality, the spades weren't much of a threat. If declarer had a spade suit that could be set up, he would have started earlier and even if they do set up, we may not have been getting a club trick anyway. Partner should have realized that I had the A (why would declarer ever play the J under the K if he had the A?) but I could have made it easier for him to know which Q he needs to keep protected.

I probably should make a hand diagram that is consistent with this explanation. Maybe I will, if I ever publish this in a book on defense or if someone starts paynig me to do this. Why don't we have hand records for Swiss team games and knockouts?

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