North-South vulnerable. East deals.



uK Q 10 4 2

vK 3

w10 9 7 4 3


x9 8 5 2 x4

u9 6 3 uA J 8 5

vA Q 9 6 2 vJ 7 4

w5 wA K Q 8 2


xA K Q J 10 6 3


v10 8 5

wJ 6

The bidding:


2w 2x Pass 3u

Pass 3x Pass Pass


Opening lead: Five of w

Ask any expert what is the most difficult aspect of the game, and the answer will be defense. This stellar example is from a championship match in Sweden.

Systemically, East’s two-club opening bid was either a six-card or longer suit or, specifically, five clubs and a four-card major. The rest of the auction was natural, and West attacked with his singleton in partner’s suit.

When declarer followed to two rounds of clubs, the whole hand was an open book and West played as if the cards were made of glass. East had to have five clubs and four hearts, so declarer was marked with a 7-1-3-2 distribution. West knew how to defeat the hand, but could not be sure that his partner had the same information.

To avoid partner making an error, West ruffed the second club and shifted to a low diamond! Declarer rose with the king in dummy and took his best shot by leading the king of hearts from dummy, but East was alert. He won the trick with the ace and reverted to diamonds. West took the queen, and sealed declarer’s fate by returning the nine of spades, and the table was dead. West could sit back and take the setting trick with the ace of diamonds.

So many bidding gimmicks can help a pair in settling on the best contract. The trouble is that they give the same information to the defense, and anything they say can be used against them.

2011 Tribune Media Services