Tricky maneuvers are all well and good; yet tournaments are won not
by the occasional spectacular result, but by doing the right stuff on the
countless more ordinary hands, day in and day out. There are certain
ways in which declarer can attempt to paint a false picture of his hand,
however, that don’t require a great deal of
merely the application of a few guidelines and a bit of imagination.
PLAY OUT LONG SUITS IN AN UNEXPECTED ORDER
One of the most difficult aspects of defense is making discards on the run of a long suit. It is incumbent upon both defenders to know how many discards must be made, and to plan accordingly. Average Joe easily loses track of the suit length and simply makes discards, breathing a sigh of relief when declarer's lowest card finally is played. He assumes it to be the last one; but what if it isn't? That defender might already have discarded to his disadvantage.
Say that you hold
Instead of playing the
deuce under the
king, then the rest from
the top down, play
3-A-Q-9-2. A.J. usually will think now
that the suit is finished. When the
six subsequently appears,
it might already be too late. Don’t keep the
nine for last;
save one of those
PLAY THE ENTIRE HAND IN NON-STANDARD ORDER
Instead of simply drawing three rounds of trumps, include plays in another
suit or two. This can throw off even thinking opponents, who will be
wondering why the play went that way. With spades trump, play
S-H-S-D-S-H. Instilling a bit of confusion in the ranks
is a perfectly legitimate tactic. Making a play that either seemingly
makes no sense, or conveys a false message about the nature of your hand,
is a good way to help even a capable defender to go wrong.
MAKE A LONG SUIT LOOK SHORT
Play unnaturally high cards within a suit. Average Joe doesn't do that, and he generally won't be expecting you to do it either.
In Notrump, you hold
Kx in the suit
led. If you know that only LHO would be able to obtain the lead next,
king and underplay the
queen. A.J. usually will
continue the suit irrespective of his partner's play at trick one.
MAKE A SHORT SUIT LOOK LONG
Jx or the like, making it
look as if you wish to ruff something in dummy. This might beget a
switch to trumps, helping you to guess that suit.
In Notrump, when dummy comes down and you discover a
suit, try leading it yourself immediately! This one can be difficult
for the defense to decipher; when they finally figure it out, you might
already have scurried home with your nine tricks.
CREATE AN ILLUSION
Suppose that, during the course of drawing trump, you lead twice
AQJ in a side suit. Might not RHO have
cause to conclude that you are taking finesses there? Why else
would you be playing that suit at that time? It could well cause
him to misplace the cards when you actually hold the
king in that
same suit all along.
MAKE A NONSENSE PLAY
Jxx in dummy. By the time a
defender realizes that you have but a singleton in your hand, it might be