Yesterday we paid deference to football season by discussing the "option play" and how to defense it. Today we see another ploy: the "misdirection play."
South's gambling leap to slam would've been punished quickly if West had gotten his fingers on a heart; but West was unwilling to lead from any honor and tried a trump. Dummy won and led the king of clubs, and when East played low, South threw a DIAMOND.
This play successfully misdirected West, who thought South's weak spot was in diamonds. West took the ace of clubs and led a diamond, and South claimed, pitching his hearts on the Q-J-10 of clubs.
If South throws a heart on the first club, West will surely return a heart. But if East-West are an expert partnership, South always fails since East will play the nine on the first club.
West will interpret this play as a suit-preference signal (since it can be nothing else): a high club to show strength in the higher-ranking of the remaining side suits.
You hold: S K 9 8 3 H 9 3 D 7 6 2 C K Q J 10. Your partner opens one club, you respond one spade and he bids 1NT. The opponents pass. What do you say?
ANSWER: Partner promises a minimum balanced hand; hence you must choose between a pass and a return to two clubs. To pass is reasonable since partner's distribution may be 3-4-3-3; but two clubs will usually be a safer contract, and you'll collect 100 honors (at rubber bridge).
S K 9 8 3
H 9 3
D 7 6 2
C K Q J 10
H K 8 7 4
D Q 10 4 3
C A 7 5 3
H A 6 5 2
D J 9 8
C 9 8 6 4 2
S A Q J 10 7 6 2
H Q J 10
D A K 5
Opening lead -- S 5
Copyright 1999, Los Angeles Times Syndicate