I am so useless in defence it’s embarrassing. My partners all say the same thing: slow down and think. I say: ‘I don’t know what to think about.’ In the 2-card ending, I unerringly play the wrong card, which brings on the annoying response: ‘You knew Declarer had a heart and a spade left.’ Well, funnily enough, I didn’t know or I would have got it right. And don’t get me started on when to cover and when to duck. Which is why I make no apology for today’s hand, which features me getting a defence right. We have been playing the ALT invitational tournaments online since lockdown. Eight teams, all of which feature world-class players. First decision: do you bid over 1NT with West’s hand? I passed throughout, which turned out to be the winning move —and next time could be a disaster (see diagram).
3♣ from North asked for a 5-card major, 3◆ denied. 3♠ showed 4 Hearts and South was the only Declarer to set the contract in 4♥. I dutifully led ♠10 (a top Club is obvs best, but not worth the lecture if it’s wrong). Declarer won ♠A and played a Diamond, which East won and gave me a Spade ruff. I exited a high Club ruffed in dummy and South drew one round of trump and went into the tank. And so did I! I knew he had started with ♥A/K/10 and that the diamonds were all good. So when South finally started to run his good Diamonds, I discarded Clubs on the first two, ruffed the third and plonked a high club on the table — bingo! One down. At the other table my teammates played in the laydown 6◆ (after a 2-suited overcall). +16 imps to us.
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