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Bridge in Paradise: by Neil Robinson

“If you have the slightest touch of masochism, you’ll love this game.”
Whenever you have four trumps (or you believe your partner has), then you have an excellent chance to make life miserable for declarer. The best line of defence is often a forcing one—you try to find the partnership’s best suit and force declarer to ruff in the hand with the long trumps. The purpose is to shorten declarer’s trump holding to the same as yours. Even better if you can reduce declarer’s holding to less than yours—then you are in control of the hand. The deal below is an example of a forcing defence. With neither side vulnerable and South dealing, this was the bidding:

South West North East
1S P 2S P
3S P 4S All pass

The full deal is shown below:

  S: J98  
  H: QJ7  
  D: KQ7  
  C: 8632  
S: 7532   S: 4
H: 853   H: K10942
D: A5   D: 9843
C: KJ94   C: A107
  S: AKQ106  
  H: A6  
  D: J1062  
  C: Q5  

Imagine you are sitting West. From your point of view, defeating the 4S contract does not look good. So what do you lead? If you lead a spade, a heart or a diamond, then South will make the contract. Declarer pulls trumps in four rounds, forces out the ace of diamonds, crosses to dummy and leads the queen of hearts. Since the king of hearts is on the right side, he makes 10 tricks (five trumps, two heart tricks and three diamond tricks). The defence takes only the ace of diamonds and two club tricks. Contract made.

However, you have four trumps, so it is time to try the forcing defence. Indeed, this is your only hope of defeating the contract. Your strongest suit is clubs, so you lead the four. You are fortunate to find your partner with an honour. He wins the ace and leads back a club. You win the king and lead the jack. Declarer ruffs and has to use all his remaining trumps to pull yours. Now, when you win the ace of diamonds, declarer is helpless. You lead the nine of clubs and take the setting trick. Contract defeated.

Bridge Club of Chiang Mai welcomes all players and all skill levels. We have members from seventeen different countries already and run periodic beginner’s classes. For information on the Club go to the web site If you have bridge questions, or to send me your interesting hands, please contact me at: [email protected]

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Bridge in Paradise