Alex Hydes, a former England Junior international, demonstrated a neat defensive technique on this deal.


Why not cover up the South and East diagrams and see if you can match the vision of Hydes, seated West? The heart suit had not been mentioned, so Hydes tried the heart ace on opening lead. Dummy appeared, and a glance was enough to suggest that there was little future in continuing with that line of attack. In fact, there was only one card from West’s hand that would result in the demise of the contract.

Hydes correctly inferred that the red suits could be excluded and a trump did not appear to achieve anything – which only left clubs. A low club isn’t good enough – declarer plays low from dummy; East wins with the queen; and now West’s king is poorly placed. How about the club king? Declarer wins with the ace, and after East takes the trump ace, he cannot profitably continue the club attack from that side of the table.

The only card that guarantees two club tricks is the ten – sometimes referred to as a surround play – in that it initially surrounds dummy’s jack. Declarer has to cover the ten with the jack, and East wins the queen and continues the suit, setting up an additional club winner for West when East wins his trump ace; and that is the defence’s fourth winner.