~Surrounding Play

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The surrounding play is a necessary part of all good defensive play. The example below tells all.
North (Dummy)
963

West
K74

South
AJ5

East
QT82

You are east and decide to lead this suit. When your suit contains a broken interior sequence, in this case the T8, and dummy holds the “filler”, in this case the 9, your holding “surrounds” dummy’s holding; hence the name.

If you lead a low one, declarer plays low and partner must win the K. Now your Q can be finessed and declarer loses only one trick. If you held QT98, you would of course lead the ten. Right? Well, whenever you hold a broken sequence that surrounds dummy’s card, assume that you hold dummy’s card and make the appropriate lead; in this case the ten.

See what happens? If declarer plays low, your ten wins. If declarer covers with the J, partner wins the K and continues with the 7 (top of remaining doubleton). Your Q8 surrounds dummy’s 96 and declarer is held to one trick. Cool huh?

Let’s try one more:

North (Dummy)
T62

West
K75

South
Q83

East
AJ94

East is on lead, the J9 surrounds dummy’s T, so East puts the T in his hand and leads the appropriate J. Declarer covers with the Q and partner’s K wins. The 7 is returned and your A9 surrounds dummy’s T6. Declarer now takes no tricks in the suit.

Bottom Line

When you decide to lead a suit that has an interior sequence that surrounds dummy’s card, put dummy’s card in YOUR hand and then lead the appropriate card.

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