Opening lead: king of clubs
Among other things, good card play includes the ability to get your opponents to make mistakes. And it goes without saying that the more opportunities you give them to make mistakes, the more mistakes they’ll make.
Assume you’re West in today’s deal, defending against four spades. You cash two club tricks and shift to a heart. You don’t think your partner can have the ace, but you hope you’re wrong.
Declarer wins the heart with dummy’s queen and leads the five of spades. East produces the ten and South the king, whereupon you should follow smoothly with the deuce! If you do, you might defeat the contract, while if you take the king with the ace, declarer is sure to get home safely.
Let’s first assume you took the king with the ace, which is what might happen if you weren’t paying close attention to your knitting. No matter what you did next, declarer would sooner or later cash the queen of spades, felling East’s jack, and so finish with 10 tricks.
But if you duck the king of spades, South will have a tough problem to solve. He won’t know whether East started with the A-10 (in which case playing a low trump next makes the contract) or the J-10 (in which case playing the queen wins).
South might guess right, even if you hold up your ace at trick two, but he has no chance of going wrong if you take it at your first opportunity.
For details about local bridge events, go to the HK Contract Bridge Association website www.hkcba.org