K 10 9 7 4
Q J 6
10 7 6 5
8 7 2
A K 2
9 8 7 4 3
K 10 5 4
Q J 8 3
K J 5
J 8 6 2
A 9 3
A Q 6 2
Both teams engage in one board at a time intellectual confrontation at the end of which one will have the pleasure of playing the contract and the other will have the misfortune of having to defend it.
–G. Cohen, Bridge Is A Conversation
An ordinary multiple-trick defensive compression play usually involves a single, catastrophic error: the air rushes out of the defense like a balloon that you blow up and then forget to tie. Far rarer is what we have today, the defensive equivalent of a slow leak.
An undernourished fourth-seat 1NT opener by East followed by an equally undernourished raise to game by West leads to a hopeless 3NT. At least it appears hopeless — down 4 before a card is played.
Intermediates are generally taught to lead a spade against this auction, especially with a holding as good as 4 to the J. Gee opts instead for the expert lead of the C2. Declarer wins the J, dropping the C10 from North, and is now down only 3. Probably his best hope now is to lead back the CK from hand, preserving his dummy entries to cash the clubs and hoping that South has the SK and that the heart losers can be held to two.
The actual East crosses to dummy with the DK and leads a club, playing North to have ducked with A10 tight. North shows out, of course, discarding the S7, and Gee wins the CK with his A. He could of course duck the club, leaving East an entry short to cash the club tricks and guaranteeing a one- or two-trick defeat, but he generously refuses to profit from declarer’s misplay. Reading his partner’s discard as Lavinthal, Gee now switches to the H3! At this point Declarer has seven sure tricks and begins to hope. In fact it’s all over. The third club drives out the CQ — declarer overtakes in dummy so a duck makes no difference — and the defense can do no better than to cash their two heart tricks. The post mortem is, alas, lost to the mists of time.