Suit Preference Signal
           Upper Cut 

Playing Bridge is not only bidding and playing the hand. It is also Defense: preventing the Declarer from making the contract. Without doubt, it is the most difficult part of Bridge. And part of defense is Signaling. 
     BWe evaluate a suit contract in terms of losers. How many; and how do we get rid of them.
     In the November 1999 hand the loser was TRUMPED in Dummy. Another way to get rid of losers are to Dump them on winners. DUMP & TRUMP are two ways of eliminating losers. Throwing them on the floor; putting them in your pocket; or giving them away to a relative are not really acceptable Bridge maneuvers. 
      The third way of getting rid of losers is to take a Finesse. A Finesse is an attempt to win tricks with a lower card than the one held by the opponents.
      Again think in terms of getting rid of losers by DUMP, TRUMP  or FINESSE.
     In today's hand we will consider a special type of Finesse called a Two Way Finesse. In most Finesse situations there is only one way to take the Finesse. 
     DUMMY                            DUMMY
      K 3 2                           8 4 3

     HAND                                HAND
      7 6 4                         A Q 7
With K 3 2 in one hand and 7 6 4 in the other hand, lead the 4 and play the King. If  the Ace is to the left of the King, the King will win a trick. If the Ace is to the right of the King, the King will lose to the Ace. Like most finesses the chances are 50% that it will win. 
     With A Q 7 lead a low card toward the Queen. If the King is in the right spot the Queen will win. When finessing for the Queen with A K J, the Finesse can be taken only one way: lead low toward the Jack. 
     There is however, a situation where finessing for the Queen can be taken in one of two ways.
                    K 10 8 6 

LHO                                           RHO
                    A J 9 7
In the above example Declarer can lead the 7 toward the King/10, playing the left hand opponent (LHO) for the Queen. Or the Declarer can lead the 6 toward the Ace/Jack playing the right hand opponent (RHO) for the Queen.  Which way is correct? Obviously if Declarer knows where the Queen is then he can Finesse in the right direction. But how does he know where the Queen is? Seeing the opponent's cards or ESP might work. Other ways of determining the Queen's whereabouts is to listen to the bidding or getting a count of Defenders' distribution.
      A neat ploy in the above example is to play the Jack from the hand. If the left hand opponent blindly follows the adage cover an honor with an honor  then the Queen will appear. If the Queen does not appear overtake the Jack with the King and finesse the other way by playing the 10 and letting it ride.
      In today's hand there is another factor to take into account. If one opponent wins a trick, that opponent could make a lead that will set the contract. That opponent is called the Danger Hand. The Danger Hand must not get the lead. If there is a Two Way Finesse to be taken, it has to be taken in such a way that even if the Finesse lost, the Danger Hand would not have the lead. 

South with 14 High Card Points (HCP); a doubleton; and a five card major opens 1 H. North's response is based on previous partnership agreements.  A bid of 3 H usually shows a 4 card Heart suit. A 2 C bid  is descriptive and is forcing for one round. (Some teams play this forcing to game.)
     South rebids 2 No Trump showing a minimum opener (13 - 15 points) and a fairly balanced hand. North with 14 points (HCP) knows that the combined point count is in the Game Zone of 26 points. 14 + 13 = 27. North goes to game in Hearts.

What are the worst opening leads against a suit contract? Leading an Ace (without the King) or under leading an Ace. Both leads equally horrendous. So the A D or the 2 D should not be led. In this particular hand a Diamond lead allows Declarer's K D to win.
     A common beginner error is to lead the A D. This is because a person wants to take a quick trick. (Where's the rush?) Leading a high honor which is not at the top of a sequence, allows your opponent's high card in that suit to become a winner. 
     Unless it's at the top of a sequence, save your Ace to capture Kings and Queens.
      A trump lead is possible but a bit too passive. And leading a Club, the Dummy's bid suit, is suicidal. 
     The best lead, both attacking and safe, is from the top of a sequence. West puts the 
S on the table.

Dummy comes down. Count losers before playing a Spade. A good plan is based on counting, and in a suit contract Declarer counts losers.  So let's do it: (Assume good defense and all the Finesses lose.)
      0 Spades;  0 Hearts; 3 Diamonds; and 1 Club.  That is 4 losers; one too many to make the hand. What to do? Leave the room? No. Let's examine the losers. 
     PLAN; Losing the Finesse in Clubs will only generate 1 loser. The problem is Diamonds. If East has the A D there will be 2 losers in that suit. But what if West has the A D? 3 losers. What to do? DUMP, TRUMP or FINESSE? Answer: DUMP. The losing Diamond can be DUMPED on a winning Club. Note: the imbalance of 4 Clubs opposite 3 Clubs is what makes DUMPING possible. 
      So the overall plan is to pull trump and set up the Clubs. This involves taking the Club Finesse. 
       But what could happen on the way to victory? An opponent can win the Club finesse and proceed to take 3 Diamond tricks. Instead of victory, defeat. This could only happen if East wins the Finesse and returns the Q D. East is the Danger Hand and must never be given the lead. Note: as long as West is on lead the K D is safe. 
     The Club Finesse must be taken in such a way that even if it lost, East will not be on lead. That is, the Finesse can only lose to West. (The Club Finesse is a Two Way Finesse.)
PLAY: Win the opening lead with the K S. (Keep the A S as possible entry for the Clubs.) In most suit contracts Declarer should pull trump as soon as possible. And since trumps are not needed in Dummy, pull trump.
      Play the 2 H and win with the K H and   extract the rest of the opponents' trump, winning the third trump in Dummy. 
      Now for the Club Finesse: play the J C and let it ride. If East has the Q C and covers, naturally win with the A C. If the Finesse loses West will be on lead and the 
D will be safe.
      Declarer wins any return and plays Clubs and DUMPS a losing Diamond. Thus the Declarer lost 1 Club and 2 Diamond, making 4 Hearts.

1. What deceptive play can West make to set the contract? 
2. Is 3 No Trump a better contract?

     The Defense is pretty straightforward. However, there is a play that West can make that could set the contract. See the above Question. Of course it can backfire and and South will make an over trick. But well worth the try.