KANTAR FOR THE DEFENSE

Kantar for the Defense is an advanced defensive play quiz based on problems selected from a wide variety of contexts.

### Problem of November, 1995

#### by Edwin B. Kantar

Are you into the "deep" game? I think this defensive problem qualifies for that description.

IMPs
South dealer
Neither side vulnerable

 NORTH (dummy) ♠ 5 ♥ A Q J 9 8 5 ♦ 9 5 3 ♣ K J 10 WEST (you) ♠ Q 9 3 2 ♥ K 7 ♦ K 6 2 ♣ A 7 3 2
SOUTHWESTNORTHEAST
4 PassPassPass

Opening lead: King of hearts

On the first two tricks, declarer pitches the seven and ten of diamonds (nice lead!). Then, he plays ace-king-jack of spades to your queen, partner following to the first spade and then discarding a low diamond and a low heart; dummy discards two hearts.

What now?

### Solution

 NORTH ♠ 5 ♥ A Q J 9 8 5 ♦ 9 7 3 ♣ K J 10 WEST ♠ Q 9 3 2 ♥ K 7 ♦ K 6 2 ♣ A 7 3 2 EAST ♠ 4 ♥ 10 6 4 3 2 ♦ A Q J 8 4 ♣ Q 4 SOUTH ♠ A K J 10 8 7 6 ♥ — ♦ 10 5 ♣ 9 8 6 5

It's easy enough to see that if you lead a low club and declarer plays low from dummy partner can win and return a heart to promote your nine of spades into the setting trick. So what's the problem?

The problem is that from partner's point of view you might not have the nine of spades. You might have a lower spade and the nine of clubs. In that case, partner's best defense would be to return a club, not a heart. (In that layout, if partner plays a heart, declarer ruffs high, draws the last trump and forces his way to dummy with a club. The jack of hearts provides a discard for declarer's long club. However, if partner returns a club you can play ace and another club, and eventually score the club nine or get to ruff the heart jack.)

The real issue is how you can tell partner which black nine you have. In other words, the club you lead must deny the nine. The correct club to lead is the seven. With ace-nine-eight-seven, you would return the nine; from ace-nine-seven-small, you should return a low club, encouraging a club return. Therefore, your lead of the seven denies the nine. If declarer plays low, partner should win and return a heart.