First a word about bridge books. There are too few good books on defense. This book should be on every serious bridge addict's shelf, together with Kelsey and Pottage.
Take the particularly thorny problem of bridge defense. If you are like me, you are a poor holder of cards and even the average card holder is twice as many times on defense as he or she is declarer. So sharpening your defensive skills should earn twice the reward. Moreover, the defender is at a great disadvantage in two respects. First, he does not know the combined assets of his army unlike declarer who can plan the play like a general in a theater of war. Second, he has to guess whether to go all out to break the contract or to prevent overtricks especially at matchpoint duplicate.
It is a concession to the difficulty above, that in this book you are told from the outset that you have to break the contract by a trick. This does not make the hands any easier.
We have read "Killing defense" by Kelsey, "Big Match" by Julian Pottage, and "Masterpieces of defense" by Pottage, but this book out-Pottages Pottage.
The choices to be made are the sort of choices one encounters every day.
Most examples are original, this one however is standard. In a trump contract ending where you have been stripped, you are on lead with J 4 2 in a plain suit, Dummy to your right has Q 9 7.
Your exit? You need two more tricks and partner has the Ace , and declarer knows it. Yes, it has to be the J.
You are catering to the layout
.........A 10 6 5
K 8 3................. Q 9 7
..........J 4 2
Declarer on a small lead captures the ten with the queen and finesses the J on the way back to lose only one trick. If we lead the Jack we give declarer a guess as to where the Ten is.
"The bidding with South opening and becoming declarer is ONE CLUB - ONE HEART - TWO NOTRUMP (18-19) -THREE NOTRUMP.
Your SPADE NINE lead is covered by the JACK, KING, and ACE. Declarer produces the DIAMOND TWO. How will you defend?
The full solution:
"So, declarer has two or three tricks in spades, one in hearts and is likely to be well-upholstered in clubs. When he plays the DIAMOND DEUCE, it looks as if his remaining tricks have to come from diamonds, and here you know what's what because the auction has told you declarer has only two hearts.
It is likely that decalrer has Axx in DIAMONDS, and you have to remove the entry in hearts before diamonds are established. Take control - play the Diamond Queen and swithc to the HEART THREE. "
In yet another problem, you are led up the proverbial garden path, by being given a count of declarer's winners in a notrump game. They add up to nine. You are alert however, and you note that one of declerer's closed hand winners is stranded. What is your game plan you are asked?
Why do I need an active game plan?
Declarer might have played inaccurately or stranded a winner earlier in the play, but I still have to discard carefully to avoid becoming a stepping stone, lest he should recover in the later play.
I have to discard a King, hoping partner has the Queen, to avoid being used as a stepping stone. Neat stuff.