George Eliot said, “Animals are such agreeable friends — they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.”

In bridge, it is beneficial if your partner is an agreeable friend; but on some deals you need to call on another friend, one of your opponents.

How can South get some help from a defender in this deal? He is in three no-trump, and West leads a fourth-highest club five.

This is surely the most common bidding sequence. It is amazing how often three no-trump makes when you have at least 25 points between you and your partner.

First, declarer counts up his top tricks, his immediate winners. Here, he has eight: two hearts, four diamonds and two clubs (given West’s lead). From where might the ninth winner come?

There are two candidates. The heart finesse might succeed; or East might hold the spade ace.

However, if you glance at the full deal, you will see that East has neither the spade ace nor the heart queen. Instead, declarer can call on his left-hand partner, West, to provide a ninth trick.

Since the dummy contains the club four and three, West must hold at most a five-card club suit. South should cash three of his diamond tricks, then take the club ace and exit with his last club.

While West takes two more tricks in that suit, dummy discards two spades, and declarer ditches one spade and his last diamond. What does West do now?

If he leads a spade, it is away from the ace and around to South’s king. Or, if he chooses a heart, it is into declarer’s ace-jack.

© 2018 United Feature Syndicate

© 2018 United Feature Syndicate