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Think what message each play sends to your partner

Figure 1

It is really good to see live bridge back in action at the Bermuda Bridge Club and long may it continue! With Covid-19 protocols still being followed there is clearly a much greater confidence across the membership in attending at the Club, and the early table counts are really encouraging and we can hopefully look forward to getting back to the pre-Covid attendances.

This week’s hand is about communication between defenders which is hugely important – every time you play a card you should ask yourself what message it sends to your partner, and by going through that thought process you will greatly enhance your defensive capability and generate good scores by defeating more contracts and saving more overtricks.

There are certain defensive signals that every pair should adopt – defensive communication does not need to be complicated – it just needs to be in place!

Look at today’s hand (see Figure 1).

The bidding was over quickly – South opened a 13/15 NT and North had an easy raise to 3NT. West led the 3 of hearts (fourth best) and East won the Ace and returned a heart. West now won the second heart and then continued with the heart 2 to set up the suit.

Declarer won and immediately played the 10 of diamonds and ran it to East’s King- East was now on lead and looking at dummy and remembering the 2 of hearts from partner at trick three he returned the obvious looking club – curtains! Declarer gratefully scooped this up and claimed his contract with 4 diamonds, 4 clubs and the early heart trick.

West was totally at fault for this horror result – at trick three West should play the 10 of hearts to clear the heart suit. This unnecessarily high card will signal to partner that West’s entry is in the higher of the two remaining suits and now when East gets in a spade return defeats the contract by two tricks.

This signalling method should be adopted throughout a pair’s defensive play – for instance, assume you are defending against a 4 heart contract and partner leads what looks like an obvious singleton diamond and your holding in diamonds is A9863.

When you win the Ace you should carefully select which diamond you return for partner to ruff – the 3, a low card, will suggest you want a club return and the 9 will suggest you want a spade return – if you have no preference, return the 6 which sends no clear signal and leaves it up to partner.

Not difficult, is it? So, discuss it with your partner as soon as possible!


Friday, February 4

1. Marge Way – Jane Smith

2. Magda Farag – Judy Bussell

3. Molly Roraback – Charles Roraback

Monday, February 7

1. Marge Way – Heather Woolf

2. Magda Farag – Joe Wakefield

3. Martha Ferguson – Judy King

Tuesday, February 8


1. Barbara Elkin – Neil Gilbertson

2. Sarah Bowers – Stuart Clare


1. Ricard Keane – Nick Jones

2. Mark Stevens – Malcolm Moseley

Wednesday, February 9

1. Jane Smith – Magda Farag

2. Wendy Gray – Richard Gray

3. Joyce Pearson – Des Nash

Thursday, February 10

1. Jane Smith – Magda Farag

2. Stephanie Kyme – Charles Hall

3. Inger Mesna – John Rayner

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Published February 12, 2022 at 7:33 am (Updated February 12, 2022 at 7:33 am)

Think what message each play sends to your partner

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