Friday, 28 January 2011

THE NIL DESPERANDUM SMOKESCREEN .......... ( Article by Johnny Supremo )
There are many times when your role as a defender is to throw up a smokescreen instead of throwing in the towel. Why just the other day I single-handed defeated a 6D contract ......yet my unobservant partner had the audacity to offer " bad luck " condolences to the shell-shocked opponents rather than acknowledging my little coup. The deal in question can be seen below.
North : Q9xxx....Jxxx......K9x.........Q
South : A.........Ax...... AJxxx....AKJ10x
Sitting East, I had opened the bidding with a weak 2 hearts on my 3-6-2-1 distribution. My Q10 doubleton in diamonds looked particularly sad. Partner's wretched 4-1-3-5 distribution did however include the stiff queen of hearts, which provided him with an easy choice of opening lead.
Declarer took the trick with the Ace of hearts, and played a small diamond over to the king in dummy. So I naturally dropped my queen under it in order to to create a smokescreen, and a possible chance for the defence. I knew that this card-counting declarer might well assume that West could be holding 4 diamonds to the 10. If he believed this to be the case, his best plan would be to play West to hold a minimum of 3 clubs, given his shortage in hearts. Now he could rattle off 3 clubs winners, by first playing dummy's queen, and then getting to hand with the Ace of spades. By continuing with clubs, two losing hearts at least could be lobbed away from dummy. Then on the 4th round of clubs, West would be fixed.....and no doubt obliged to ruff in with the 10 of diamonds. But this would enable the remaining heart in dummy to be discarded. Even if West played back a trump, dummy's 9 of diamonds is still there to safely take care of declarer's only losing heart.
Well, the smokescreen did its stuff, with declarer losing his way, and electing to play the hand as I envisaged. And God, was he mortified when I ruffed the 3rd round of clubs with my diamond 10 ......only to play the king of hearts next for the setting trick.
So yes, as a defender with little in the way of ammunition, a little bit of deception ( such as the improvised smoke bomb ) might do the business ........a weapon any one of us is capable of making in the nil desperandum mind laboratory.

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