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Tales form the Attic: Reading the Defense.

Occasionally in the early 1980s, Jim Jacoby would ask me if I had any hands that might be

useful for his newspaper column.

Pressure all Around.

By James  Jacoby.

Mike Edwards had an interesting deal at the St. Louis Regional. Mike, sitting South arrived in

3NT. Prospects were not great after the opening lead but there are always chances when you

have eight tricks off the top. Cashing a lot of tricks can put the defenders under some

pressure, and that was the plan.

He grabbed the first trick and ran four rounds of clubs, West throwing a spade. Declarer

next played King and Ace of Spades, West shedding a heart. Now Mike played the Heart

Ten. The plan was to force West to lead away from the Diamond King if he held it.

Although East had the  King all along, look what happened. West blithely took all four

of his Heart winners. On the last Heart East had to reduce to two cards, and he telegraphed

his agony. Eventually, to keep a high Spade, East blanked his Diamond King. By this time

Mike had the right reading and so when West led the Jack of Diamonds, declarer played

low from the Q-6 in dummy and made his contract.

Although declarer played well, West could still have won the day had he taken only three high

Hearts and then played the Diamond Jack. Then East would have been able to both

preserve a high Spade and keep his Diamond King guarded and the contract would have failed.

West
73
KQJ986
J10
1032
North
A864
74
Q64
AQ87
East
QJ109
532
K752
64
South
K52
A10
A983
KJ95
W
N
E
S
2
P
P
2NT
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0

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