25 October 2011

Just stop it!

Here's something that really gets to me. You're defending a contract, lets say it's 3 and you have a trump holding like Q52.

Declarer is quite clearly in a nine card fit. Maybe they opened in spades and caught a four card raise from their partner.

Dummy's spades are KJ43.

Declarer wins your well considered lead in hand, cashes the A and leads a small spade towards dummy. You follow nicely in tempo but then play stops.

For a full minute.

Or two.

Stop it! Make some discovery play, think about what you're going to do in advance and then just do it. Leading towards a finesse then spending three minutes trying to read the defence as they desperately stare out the window is not bridge.


  1. I completely understand the nature of your comment ... but I think you could have picked a better illustration.

    Perhaps declarer had concluded that he was going to draw trumps, no matter what. And saw no need to spend time before playing the second spade from hand figuring out what he was going to do if you played small. After all, it would have been quite wasteful for declarer to have spent time determining his second round play from dummy before making his second round play from hand: what if the trump queen popped, so that there turned out to be nothing to think about?

    A better illustration might have been one I witnessed today at the club Swiss team event. Declarer, not unreasonably, spent some time before playing from dummy at trick one, presumably to ascertain his general declarer plan. But then when third hand followed suit at Trick 1 with an innocuous card that declarer won, declarer went again to the tank. What can declarer be thinking about at Trick 2 when he has no more useful information than he possessed at Trick 1?

  2. HBJ : I agree with you entirely. What is going on here ? Why is the Principle of Preparedness not being applied here ? How obvious is the cheating given the clear aim of declarer hoping to extract a tell from one of the opponents.
    Personally, I would call a director if the declarer was an experienced player. This is a form of soft cheating.