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First rule of signaling

This was the last board on the first day of the Round of 16 in the Open USBC and some Souths may have been tired.

West
104
K98432
A10
A102
North
2
Q7
QJ7432
KQ84
East
KQ873
A106
98
763
South
AJ965
J5
K65
J95
D

The hand was played nine times on VuGraph.  In each case, there was a heart contract played by West, North led the stiff spade, dummy played an honor, and South won the ace, then continued the suit for partner to ruff.

Steve Garner, defending 4, carefully led a low spade, picking up a few IMPs for his team, with nine tricks now the limit.  Geeske Joel and Paul Fireman found the same play, preventing only an overtrick.

What's the big deal?  Six other defenders, including one world champion defending 4, ignored the first rule of signalling--don't signal with a card you can't afford--and played back the jack or nine to show a diamond card.  This meant that declarer could win the return, draw trump, pitch the remaining diamond on the high spade, then take the marked ruffing finesse to set up a club pitch on the 7.

Note that South can also defeat the contract by defending passively--disdaining the ruff and returning a trump or any side suit is adequate.

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