18 English Bridge June 2016 www.ebu.co.uk
IT OFTEN staggers me how poorly many people's
defence is at bridge. When you pause to consider
that you will defend on approximately 50% of all
bridge hands you will realise how important it is.
On some occasions it is simply which card to switch
to which is vital - you have correctly diagnosed
which suit to attack - but then you fail to switch to
the correct card.
The concept of surrounding a card - usually
visible in dummy can therefore be absolutely vital.
Let us look at a couple of fairly common
examples to demonstrate:
SURROUNDING DUMMY'S 10
Let us imagine ourselves in the mind of defender
East. If we find ourselves on lead, regardless of
whether it's a suit contract or no trumps, we shall
assume that East understands the need to switch to
Remember East can only see the following :
If East now incorrectly switches to a low card with
the earlier layout, South will simply play low to
guarantee a stopper (one trick on this occasion) in
If East plays low, then South can play low, West is
forced to play the ace to take the trick and North
follows low. South will always be able to win the
queen at a later stage.
The correct defensive solution is for East to
surround dummy's 10 by starting with the jack
rather than a low card.
WATCH . . .
First trick: J, Q, A, low
Next trick: West can lead low through dummy's 10.
East's K-9 acts as a tenace to secure two
tricks. If declarer plays the 10, then the
king followed by the nine will secure
two tricks. If declarer plays low, then
the nine followed by the king will
secure two tricks.
So the principle here is that East can anticipate
South's possible holding without cost and
potentially nullify it by surrounding the 10 in
dummy. Importantly, should South hold the ace
rather than the queen then no harm has been done
to the defence. Also (almost in passing) - should
South actually hold both the ace and the queen then
it is essential to switch to the jack to limit them to
two tricks rather than three. If East leads low, and
South holds both, declarer could play low and win
with the 10 in the North hand and then win two
subsequent tricks with the ace and queen still sitting
over East's king.
One further technical point when learning the
idea of surrounding the 10. If East held K-J-8-x
rather than K-J-9-x he should still switch to the jack
when broaching the suit. This caters for West
holding both the ace and the nine:
Again, if East switches to a low club South simply
has to play low to score an undeserved trick in the
suit. By switching to the jack it will go J, Q, A, low.
Then next trick West can play the nine through the
10 to stop declarer scoring any tricks in the suit.
by Neil Rosen
® 10 x x
® A x x ® K J 9 x
® Q x x
® 10 x x
® A 9 x ® K J 8 x
® Q x x
® 10 x x
® ? ® K J 9 x