The defender who usually has to think the most is the partner of the leader. He gets to see the dummy, recall the auction and, if returning partner’s suit is not automatic, formulate a plan to beat the contract. Regardless of the speed declarer plays from dummy, this is the moment to take your time.

Bidding
Dealer:North Love All
NorthEastSouthWest
1DNB1NTNB
3NT

West led J♠ and East considered the situation. Holding 11 points, he knew that West did not have many points. If he returns a spade, West may not gain the lead quickly enough to enjoy his winners.

As South’s 1NT response denies four hearts or four spades, it seems likely that he holds length in clubs. Is there any way East might be able to cut declarer off from those winners? If South holds 10♦ or both A♥ and Q♥, then it cannot be done but, if South holds only one heart honour, a heart switch will blow his entry before he is ready to use it. So East switched to 3♥. South played low and West won with 10♥. Conscious of the four-card heart suit in dummy and realising that East must hold an honour, West returned 2♥ to East’s K♥ and South’s A♥. Now, when East held up his A♣ until the second round, South could never reach his hand. East-West could take three hearts, plus East’s two aces and the contract was down.



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