Peter Drucker, a management consultant born in Austria but who moved to the United States just before World War II, said, “The new information technologies – Internet and email – have practically eliminated the physical costs of communications.”

At the bridge table, good communication between defenders will save a lot of points and, if there are stakes, money.

Today’s deal highlights one critical communication technique. How should the defenders card to defeat three no-trump after West leads his fourth-highest club?

North used a textbook transfer sequence, bidding two hearts then three notrump to show exactly five spades and game-going strength. South, with only a doubleton spade, had an easy pass.

Declarer starts with eight tricks: one spade, one heart, five diamonds and one club (given that the defenders will be attacking that suit). If the spade finesse is winning, there will be overtricks, but if it is losing, South could concede one spade and four clubs.

After West leads the club five, East wins with his ace – third hand high. Then, with two cards left, he returns the club nine, starting a high-low with a remaining doubleton.

South will put up his queen, but West should realize that if his partner had begun with A-J-9-3 of clubs, he would have led back the three (low from a remaining odd number), not the nine. So now West must resist the temptation to win the trick. He must follow suit with his four, to keep communication with his partner. Then, when East gets in with his spade king, he leads his last club for down one.

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