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Subj:.....Watson's Bridge Challenge #6, Chapters 20 to 21 (S555c)
          Chapter 20 - Defensive Discards
          and
          Chapter 21 - Defensive Plays by Second Hand

          From the book 
          "Watson the Play of the Hand at Bridge" 
          Published in 1959 by HarperResource

..
1. Chapter XX, Page 200 - Defensive Discards

There are three types of discard signals:
     1. discouraging discards
     2. encouraging discards
     3. temporizing discards.

Joseph Elwell invented an encouraging signal called an echo.  If you want your partner to continue a suit, discard high and then low in the suit.

Whenever you are the Opening Leader, you should watch your Partner's first card very carefully.  If there seems to be at least two cards lower than the one played, which are not visible, it is best for you to believe that your Partner intends to encourage you.  If there is but one lower card missing, you must be wary and suspicious.

South is playing a no-trump contract, and West leads the Jack of Hearts.  What card should you discard?
 
. 5
J 10 8 7 6
Q 4 3 2
A K 9
.
Answer.

Opener must hold A J 10, or K J 10, or possibly J 10 8.  You like the suit, since you have four to the queen, and you hope your Partner will continue it when he regains the lead.  You cannot play your highest card - the Queen.  Your best encouraging card is the four of Hearts, and you therefore play it.
 


 

2. Chapter XX, Page 204 - Defensive Discards
 

Your partner, West, opens the King of Diamonds against South's no-trump contract.  A low card is played from dummy.  As East, what card should you discard?
 
. A 3 2
K Q 10 5
J 9 8 4
J 6
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Answer.

You want to West to continue the suit.  Since you have the Jack and dummy has the Ace, East cannot be leading Diamonds from anything other than King-Queen-
Ten.  You could throw off the Jack without doing any damage, but this is not essential.  Play your nine to encourage East to continue the suit.
 


 

3. Chapter XX, Page 205 - Defensive Discards

Declarer leads low from dummy (North) with the intention of playing his King.  On dummy's six of Spades, what card should East play?
 
. Q 10 6
A 8 4
J 9 3 2
K 7 5
.
Answer.

Should you casually follow with the deuce?  No!  You should play the trey.  The King will still be played, and your partner cannot tell that you would like to have the suit led again.  However, there will come a time later in the play when you will be able to discard on the lead of a suit of which you have no cards.  Then you can complete your echo in Spades by playing the deuce so that your partner will be absolutely certain that you hold the protected Jack over the dummy.  He can then lead the suit if he finds it necessary to the defensive campaign.
 


 

4. Chapter XXI, Page 211 - Defensive Plays by Second Hand

The defensive play of Second Hand resolves itself into two categories;
1. the proper defensive plays when one is playing before the Dummy, and
2. the proper defensive plays when one is playing before the Declarer.

Playing Defensively Before the Dummy

Play low Second Hand unless there is some good reason for doing otherwise.

Declarer (South) leads the six-spot.  What card should West play?
 
. K 7 3 2
A J 5
10 8 4
Q 9 6
.
Answer.

Certainly you will not play the Jack.  If you play the Ace, you have promoted South's Queen to a sure winner.  Since in this example the Hearts break 3-3, declarer will make three Heart tricks if you go up with the Ace.  Play the five of Hearts.
 


 

5.  Chapter XXI, Page 213 - Playing Defensively Before the Dummy

A defensive player should almost never try to win a trick which does not contain some honor originally belonging to either Declarer or Dummy.

South leads the five of Diamonds.  What card should West play?
 
. A Q 10 2
K J 9
6 4 3
8 7 5
..
Answer.

The play of either the King or the Jack merely simplifies the Declarer's play - in fact, it will place for him all the missing honors in your hand.  By playing the nine of Diamonds you may induce the Declarer to finesse Dummy's Queen on the first round, thereby making your King-Jack worth 1 sure trick.
 


 

6. Chapter XXI, Page 213 - Playing Defensively Before the Dummy

South leads the two of Diamonds.  What card should West play?
 
. A 10 3
Q J 7
8 6 5
K 9 4 2
.
Answer.

West should play the Jack, which forces the Ace and leaves you with a sure third round winner.
 


 

7. Chapter XXI, Page 214 - Playing Defensively Before the Dummy

South leads the four of Diamonds.  What card should West play?
 
. A 8 3 2
Q J 7
K
10 9 6 5 4
.
Answer.

West should play low.  The seven will force Dummy's Ace as surely as playing the Jack and is much safer.
 


 

8. Chapter XXI, Page 214 - Playing Defensively Before the Dummy

South leads the two of Clubs.  What card should West play?
 
. A K 10
Q J 7
2 led
.
Answer.

Play low on the first round.  This is your only chance to make a Club trick.
 


 

9. Chapter XXI, Page 215 - Playing Defensively Before the Dummy

When Declarer leads low and Dummy lacks any high cards, Second Hand's decision becomes a matter of common sense.  Ask yourself whether you want the lead or you wish your Partner to have it.  If you want Partner to lead, you naturally play low and hope that Partner can overtake the dummy.

Declarer leads the six of Spades.  What card should you play?
 
. 10 2
Q 9 5
K 4 3
A J 8 7 6
.
Answer.

If you play the Queen of Spades, the next time Spades are led the Declarer will be able to lead a small card from dummy and finesse through your Partner's King.  By playing low on the first trick, you let Partner win the King while you retain your protected Queen.
 


 

10. Chapter XXI, Page 216 - Playing Defensively Before the Dummy

Covering an honor with an honor, in the Second Hand position, will very often prove to be the best play.

Declarer leads the Queen of Hearts.  What card should you play?
 
. A 7 5
K 9 2
Q led
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Answer.

It is much better to "cover an honor with an honor, forcing the Dummy's Ace in the hope that Partner may have the Jack or Ten.
 


 

11. Chapter XXI, Page 218 - Playing Defensively Before the Dummy

Usually it is good to cover the Jack with the Queen whenever Dummy holds two dangerous cards, but to refrain from covering whenever the Dummy holds but one threatening card.

Declarer leads the Jack of Spades.  What card should you play?
 
. A 5 4 3
Q 8 7
K 9 6
J 10 2
.
Answer.

If you cover with the Queen of Spades, the Declarer will win with Dummy's Ace and his ten will now be sitting over Partner's King.  If you refuse to cover, Partner will win the trick with the King.  Then if the Ten is led, you cover and establish Partner's nine.
 


 

12. Chapter XXI, Page 219 - Playing Defensively Before the Dummy

The Jack lead should always be covered with Second Hand's Queen whenever it is apparent that, by not covering, Second Hand is extablishing a tenace in Dummy against the Defending Side.

Declarer leads the Jack of Diamonds.  What card should you play?
 
. A 10 2
Q 8 3
K 9 6 4
J 7 5
.
Answer.

West must cover, or the Dummy will surely duck.
 


 

13. Chapter XXI, Page 220 - Playing Defensively Before the Dummy

Sometimes Second Hand must cover even a Ten to try to establish a tenace position in Partner's hand.

Declarer leads the Ten of Hearts.  What card should you play?
 
. A J 2
Q 7 5
K 9 8 6
10 4 3
.
Answer.

If the Ten is led, and West plays low, the Declarer makes two sure Heart tricks.  If you cover the Ten, Partner's King-nine are both bound to win if the suit is led again by declarer or West.
 


 

14. Chapter XXI, Page 221 - Playing Defensively Before the Dummy

An exception to this method of covering occurs when Second Hand's King must be good anyway.

Declarer leads the Ten of Hearts.  What card should you play?
 
. A 7
K 5 4 3
Q led
.
Answer.

West should play small.  After the Ace wins the second trick, the King must win the third round.
 


 

15. Chapter XXI, Page 221 - Playing Defensively Before the Declarer

The general rule is that, unless you hold many cards of the suit led, you should always cover any bare honor led from the Dummy.  However, when the Dummy holds a sequence of two honors, and one of these is led, you must practically never cover.

If the Queen is led in No. 1, or the Jack in No. 2, what card should you play?
 
. No. 1
.
No. 2
.
Q J 8 J 10 8
  K 4 3   K 4 3
.
Answer.

You must play low.  The only exception occurs when the Second Hand holds a doubleton.  Then there is no sese in not covering.
 

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Louis H. Watson's "The Play of the Hand at Bridge" is the definitive work on 
how to play the hands in bridge.  It should be bought and read by all serious 
bridge players.

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