Goren bridge: Trusting partner

November 02, 2023 02:11 pm | Updated 02:11 pm IST

High on the wish list for bridge players is to find a partner you can trust. Once you find him, you must trust him, even when that is hard to do.

Today’s deal is from a tournament in the Faroe Islands, located in the North Atlantic between the United Kingdom and Iceland. East was Bogi Simonsen, considered the Faroe Island’s best player, playing with a top player from Iceland. The auction was simple enough, but the defense was challenging.

West led the 10 of clubs, highest from three low cards in partner’s suit, as many do after having raised the suit. Simonsen won with king and continued with the ace as West followed suit with the seven. What now? A spade shift was too dangerous after South had opened the bidding in that suit. Simonsen was about to lead a heart, which would have allowed declarer to make his contract with the help of a diamond finesse, but he paused to consider his partner’s play.

Why had West followed to the second club with the seven? It wasn’t a count card, as West was known to have started with three clubs. Surely it was a suit-preference signal, asking for a spade shift. Simonsen took a deep breath and led the 10 of spades. West won with the king and continued with the ace of spades, crashing the queen. No matter. West led a third round of spades and South could not handle Simonsen’s eight of trumps. The defense now had a trump trick, regardless of declarer’s play, and the contract was defeated. Nice defense!

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