Join Bridge Winners
Defensive Discarding Problem
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I faced this challenging problem in Memphis and didn't get it quite right. I changed the hand slightly to better illustrate the technique required, but the same solution would have worked on the actual hand.

First the auction (IMP Scoring):

South
AKJ
65
AK98762
5
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
3
3
P
4
X
P
P
P

Double seemed reasonable, and I led the Ace of diamonds. 

Follow the play until you reach your first decision:

West
954
KJ87
J105
A108
North
East
South
AKJ
65
AK98762
5
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
3
3
P
4
X
P
P
P
D
4X East
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
5
3
3
2
0
1
3
5
A
2
0
0
2
4
2
8
J
3
1
2
3

Dummy isn't scary, but not surprisingly your Ace is ruffed away.

You are playing upside down signals. Do you draw trumps, play a diamond, or something else?

If declarer has six spades, he's probably making this hand so you need to hope he has only five. Declarer is taking a big risk if you have 4 spades because now you can draw two more rounds and tap him repeatedly in diamonds gaining control in the hand. Unfortunately, you were only dealt three trumps so you'll need a trick somewhere else. 

If declarer was willing to play trumps it seemed wrong to continue that line. Also, it looks like declarer probably has good hearts and clubs in reserve. I chose to play a small diamond to partner hoping to reduce declarer's trumps to my length.

The play continues:

West
954
KJ87
J105
A108
North
East
South
AKJ
65
AK98762
5
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
3
3
P
4
X
P
P
P
D
4X East
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
5
3
3
2
0
1
3
5
A
2
0
0
2
4
2
8
J
3
1
2
2
10
Q
6
2
1
3
K
5

Now what?

I felt like I committed myself to this line, so pitched away a diamond. Then I kept pitching as declarer rained down winners until I reached this point.

West
954
KJ87
J105
A108
North
East
South
AKJ
65
AK98762
5
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
3
3
P
4
X
P
P
P
D
4X East
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
5
3
3
2
0
1
3
5
A
2
0
0
2
4
2
8
J
3
1
2
2
10
Q
6
2
1
3
K
6
8
4
2
1
4
Q
7
10
6
2
1
5
9
5
K
2
0
1
6
J
4
Q
6
2
1
7
A
9

Things are looking grim and you're running out of time. Declarer's heart plays seem odd. Discard again or trump?

Unfortunately, I couldn't take it anymore and trumped in allowing declarer to make the contract. Hopefully you continued the theme of this problem and continued to discard. Here is the end position with all hands shown:

West
95
87
J
North
10
5
J96
East
Q7
A103
South
AK
K98
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
3
3
P
4
X
P
P
P
D
4X East
NS: 0 EW: 0

By discarding you allow your partner to score his trump, thereby ensuring four trump tricks for the defense. Once you tap declarer twice he can't afford to play spades without losing control of the hand so he's forced to leave your partner with the key trump.

Here is the full hand:

West
954
KJ87
J105
A108
North
102
42
Q53
J97642
East
Q8763
AQ1093
KQ3
South
AKJ
65
AK98762
5
D

Notice that if you pull trump early in the hand declarer will always get home with 2 spades, 5 hearts, and 3 clubs. 

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