More About The Egg …
I guess I could say I have written this “extra” ‘due to public demand’. I have been chastised for being so uncomplimentary about South’s defence, and I have also been asked by a couple of readers just what the proper defence should have been and what would have been best practice on the board in question – even if the defence’s line ultimately proved more profitable for them. So, here goes, let me try again, without any scathing comments.
Board 26 Dealer E All Vul
East should open 1H. South should double though I would not argue with a 2D overcall. I prefer double because I have four spades. As it happens the 2D overcall makes later bidding AND defence much easier for NS, because when South overcalls 2D, West doubles (a perfect and easy to find bid), and North bids 3D. After that, whether EW subside in 3H or push on to 4H, the defence is easy, because South can either lead a low diamond on the go, or switch to a diamond later. The defence will then take the four obvious tricks.
But let’s go back to when South doubles, West bids 3H or 2NT (as in Truscott) and East then overbids to 4H, like I did. How should the defence go then? The opening lead of the ace of spades is atrocious, as you will all agree. Aces should only be led if you are desperate for tricks and have good reason to lead an unsupported ace. Better for your ace to stay sitting over whatever declarer may have in spades. A low diamond could be too risky, so South’s best blind lead is probably the seven of clubs, with a possibility of a later ruff.
If South leads the C7, declarer should immediately put in the jack for what is a ‘free finesse’, hoping that South has led from the queen. But North produces the queen and declarer has to win the ace. Declarer’s only hope now is if the defence go wrong, so declarer plays on trumps. When South wins the ace, South can continue with another club to gain some more information, or South can take the attack to declarer and look for three more tricks before any losers go away. Despite the danger of the queen of diamonds, South should switch to a diamond and lead the FIVE. You lead a LOW card to tell partner you want the suit back, and a HIGH card if you don’t. North will then win the ace and return one to South’s ace.
An alternative is for South to lay down the ace of spades and if North signals encouragement, continue spades. North in this instance will discourage (which is why you MUST have a signalling system on defence) and South then has to switch to diamonds.