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 experience — 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 AQ9632 opposite K8. 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 easier-to-forget cards.
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 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 AQT opposite Kx in the suit led. If you know that only LHO would be able to obtain the lead next, win the 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
Lead from xx toward 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 wide-open 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 toward dummy's 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
Lead the Jack from Jxx in dummy. By the time a defender realizes that you have but a singleton in your hand, it might be too late.