Opening lead: king of spades
Bridge is a partnership game, and nowhere does this fact assert itself more forcefully than during defensive play.
Assume you’re East and partner leads the king of spades against four hearts. You overtake the king with the ace to cater to the possibility that the king might be singleton.
The overtake proves to be necessary because, when you play the queen, West shows out, discarding the three of clubs. When you then cash the jack, West discards the three of diamonds, and the question is what to do next.
If you are accustomed to trusting and obeying partner’s signals, you should have no problem. By discarding a low club and a low diamond, partner has asked you not to play either of those suits. It would be pointless to shift to a trump, so, by elimination, you lead another spade at trick four, even though this play presents declarer with a ruff-and-discard.
This turns out to be just what the doctor ordered when your partner acquires a trump trick he otherwise would not have got, and the contract is defeated. Observe that the spade continuation would be equally successful if West had started with the J-x-x of trumps instead of the Q-x.
It is obvious from West’s negative signals in diamonds and clubs that he lacks the ace of either suit. By inference, therefore, partner is demanding that you lead another spade, and you have no choice but to do what he says.
For details about local bridge events, go to the HK Contract Bridge Association website www.hkcba.org