The first trick goes to East's jack and declarer's king.
At trick two declarer plays the tJ to your ace. Do
you continue clubs or switch suit? Who has the club
queen? Do you know for certain?
Answer - no you don't! Either partner or declarer
could still have it.
If the club layout is as in A:
Layout A ® 8 5
® A 10 7 6 3 ® Q J 4
® K 9 2
then it is essential to cash out by continuing clubs to
collect four club tricks and the tA to defeat the
However if the layout is as in B:
Layout B ® 8 5
® A 10 7 6 3 J 9 4
® K Q 2
It is now essential not to continue with clubs but to
switch suits, so that when (you hope) East gets on
lead he can play a club fatally for declarer through
his remaining ®Q-x.
At the table, which would you gamble on? With
standard defensive techniques it is a bit of a coin flip
to tell you the truth (note in passing that you only
ever have a problem if declarer is skilful enough to
know to win with the king and not the queen over
East's jack when holding K-Q-x).
However, if Smith Peters are in use, East will play
a high diamond on the first round when holding the
®Q to tell partner that he has a good holding in
clubs. If holding ®J-x-x, he would play a low
diamond to discourage clubs (as a guideline, only
encourage if you have a better-than-could-beexpected
holding, or if you know that continuing
the first suit is the right thing to do).
This method is, of course, not infallible but does
represent a significant advance in defensive
Note that both defenders can use the Smith Peter,
since it could well be the partner of the opening
leader who gains the lead first - hence any guidance
as to whether to continue or switch is most helpful.
One of the teething troubles you may have when
starting to use Smith Peters is to know when to use
February 2015 English Bridge
them. Thus you have to work out whether your
holding suggests partner should continue or not
with the first suit led.
Imagine you have J-7-6-4-3 in a suit and partner
leads the 2 against no-trumps. Dummy has 8-5 and
declarer wins your jack with his queen. When
declarer plays on his first side-suit, do you think you
should now Smith Peter or not?
Yes, you should: if partner originally led from a
four-card suit (most likely, playing fourth-highest
leads) then declarer has only one card left. If he
started with A-Q doubleton, then the problem is
irrelevant; however, if declarer started with K-Q
doubleton, you are in a position to cash out now -
but of course partner doesn't know that and may
switch suits trying to find your entry to play this suit
back through declarer's presumed stopper. Thus
you should Smith Peter, i.e. play high-low in the first
suit that declarer plays.
One final note of technique. There will be
occasions when partner leads suit A and declarer
wins and immediately plays on suit B and you find
you can't make a Smith Peter. Perhaps you only have
a singleton in suit B (grr . . .) or possibly J-x or Q-x
where you obviously cannot spare your higher card.
In these cases just let partner revert to the good oldfashioned
principle of using their brain! Particularly
when you have a singleton, it doesn't really work to
carry the Smith Peter over to suit C (though I am
aware that one of Britain's top partnerships did just
that for a while - not sure if they still do).
Next time we will look at a number of examples
of Smith Peters in action at the table. r
TITCHFIELD Bridge Club (Hants IoW) was
founded thirty years ago by Dr Leslie Ellis. To
mark Dr Ellis's 100th birthday, a special cake was
presented by the club's current Chairman and
Treasurer, Peter Francis and Gina Hunt.