Saturday, April 10, 2010

Defensive Strategy: Follow partner's lead

At love all, you deal yourself ♠T K983 9864 ♣AK96 and pass.  LHO bids 2♠ and there are two passes to you.  You decide to double and everyone passes.  Partner leads the A and dummy is ♠5 Q762 AJ7 ♣Q5432.  A wish trick is completed (your 3 being an encouraging signal).  Partner continues with 5, obviously his last heart.  What's the right strategy here?  How do you know if partner is looking for quick ruffs (he has several small trumps) or whether we can take our time and develop side suit tricks (partner has good intermediate trumps).

Duh!  It's obvious.  If partner had good intermediates, he'd be leading a long suit.  The fact that he led from a doubleton indicates that he wants ruffs quickly.

On this hand, I didn't see the hurry for giving partner his ruffs (after all he did pass 2SX so he must have good trumps, I reasoned).  But partner set our side's defensive strategy with his lead and presumably he knows how good his trumps are.  Unfortunately, we only defeated the contract one trick because of my poor logic (57%) instead of two tricks (93%).

How often do we see opening leader make a good lead only to find his partner countermanding the plan and switching to a different strategy?  It's a question of trust.  Good partners assume that their partner has made the right lead and continue the program (assuming there isn't some glaringly obvious alternative).

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