A Bridge Phantasmagoria
A COVER UP
When an honour card is led and the next player gives a higher honour, the play is known as covering an honour with an honour. When the honour is led from touching honours, good technique requires that the cover should be postponed to the second lead, e.g.
If West covers immediately, South makes all four tricks by a subsequent finesse against the ten but a second round cover will set up the ten for East
If West covers the jack, North wins the ace and a return lead will establish the ten, but if West plays low, declarer makes just one trick.
Per contra, if a single honour is led the general rule is to cover at once, but now a resourceful player can take advantage of a defender doing just that.
West led the three of hearts to South’s contract of Four Spades. The ace won and a small trump to the ace, revealed that West was void and that the contract could not be made. South consoled himself with the thought that 3NT would also fail on the same lead and that his opposite number in this team-of-four match would meet the same fate.
Soon he was faced with a hand that had a very familiar ring to it.
He reached a contract of Four Spades once again and West led the three of hearts. Clearly the only hope was a 2-2 split in spades. When the ace and king of spades failed to drop all the trumps, South conceded one down.
At the interval during a comparison of the scores, South found much to his surprise, that the contract of Four Spades on the first had been made. Feeling that this required investigation, he asked for details. Apparently at trick two, declarer had led the ten of spades and a shamefaced East had to admit that he had covered with the jack and that two more leads from dummy had trapped his nine and eight.
Soon he came to the second hand and discovered that once again, Four Spades had been bid and made. East’s embarrassment was self-evident.
“Don’t tell me,” said South. “Declarer led the ten of spades from dummy and again you covered with the jack.” East only hung his head.
However, compassion overcame South and he consoled East, “Don’t worry. I will treat this like Watergate and a Cover-up will keep your dark secret.