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Low from Dummy

 by Richard Pavlicek

The tactic of leading low from dummy is a powerful strategy that can work wonders at times. Even if you have nothing of value in hand, your right-hand opponent doesn’t know this, making it difficult to find the right defense. Witness this deal from a recent online tournament. My wife Mabel was South.

The bidding was highly competitive — some might say egregious, but that’s often the norm in tournament bridge. East made a light takeout double of the spade raise, South bid 3 S preemptively, and West was not going to be shut out. Four hearts would have failed by at least two tricks, but North succumbed to the tempo and bid 4 S. West finally doubled, perhaps the most sensible call of the auction.

South dealsS Q 9 8 6WestNorthEastSouth
None vulH A 61 S
D Q J 10 3Pass2 SDbl3 S
C 10 3 24 H4 SPassPass
S K 5 2TableS 7DblPassPassPass
H K Q J 10H 7 5 3 2
D 9 5 2D A K 7 6 4
C 7 6 4C Q J 9
S A J 10 4 3
H 9 8 4
D 8
4 S× SouthC A K 8 5

Declarer won the H A, and with the spade finesse destined to lose from West’s double, chances were bleak. The only hope (aside from C Q-J doubleton) was to develop dummy’s diamond suit for two discards. Leading a diamond honor could never achieve this, so declarer led a sneaky diamond three at trick two. Can you really blame East for winning the king? Imagine how silly he would look if he ducked and South won the nine.

East returned the C Q, won by South; then a low spade was led to dummy’s eight (it wouldn’t matter if West hopped with the king). Next came the D Q, and the ace was ruffed out. Declarer then cashed the S A and gave up a heart, and both losing clubs soon went away on the diamonds. Well done, Mabel!

Did I earn some nice dinners this month, or what?

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© 2003 Richard Pavlicek