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Bridge in Paradise: by Neil Robinson

Whenever you have four trumps (or you believe your partner has), then 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 North dealing, this was the bidding:

Imagine you are sitting West. Your hand and dummy are shown below:

This is a fairly easy hand to force with because you have four trumps and a strong side suit. You lead three rounds of high diamonds. You win the first two tricks. On the third round, dummy ruffs and both declarer and partner follow suit. Declarer then tries to draw trumps. Partner follows to the first round and discards on the second. Now you know that South only had four trumps.
As long as you resist taking your ace of trumps until the third round, you have defeated the contract. If declarer takes a third round of trumps, then you win the ace and lead another diamond. Dummy has no more trumps, so declarer is forced to ruff in hand with his last spade. Now, you have the only remaining trump. You can ruff in on clubs or hearts and cash your last diamond. The contract goes down two. If declarer does not take a third round of trumps, then you can use your low trump to ruff and you still have the ace of trumps to make sure the contract goes down. Either way, the forcing defence kills the contract.
I would like to hear from readers about their favourite hands—please do contact me at [email protected] Bridge Club of Chiang Mai welcomes all players. We have members from seventeen different countries already. For information on the Club go to the web site

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Bridge in Paradise