5. Don't get stiffed

East Deals      

N-S Vul

A 7 6

K J 8

J 6 

Q 10 9 6 5

J 10 9 8 5

9 4

K Q 3

4 3 2

4 2

A Q 10 3

8 7 5 4

A 8 7


K Q 3

7 6 5 2

A 10 9 2






Opening Lead: J ♠




1 NT


2 NT




A 'stiff' honour is a singleton honour, or a doubleton double honour - or a trebleton treble honour; essentially, honours that do not have little cards with them to enable you to cross over. The suit is potentially blocked, and without sufficient entries, you must often overtake with a higher honour from the long hand. Here, you are in 2NT and need four club tricks to succeed. Firstly, be sure to win J♠ lead in hand as you will need A♠ as an entry to dummy's long clubs later. Secondly, expect the defence to duck A♣ ("Quack, Quack: Duck Twice!"). Winning K♠ in hand, lead K♣ (NOT J♣) and follow with J♣. If you play low from dummy and East ducks for a second time, you are sunk. Instead you must overtake J♣ with dummy's Q♣ and now it doesn't matter whether East ducks or not. You can continue with 10♣ to drive out A♣, and still have a carefully preserved A♠ as entry to reach the established clubs and eight tricks. N.B. The defence must discard well to keep you from an overtrick.