February 20, 2020

Bridge: Feb. 15, 2020

“Simple Saturday” columns are meant to help improve basic technique and develop logical thinking.

When I speak to learning players, I rarely treat “rules.” The essence of bridge is problem-solving. Rules have many exceptions.

Today’s West leads the ace and a low trump against four hearts. (South’s last bid, after he tried for game with 2NT and North rejected, was odd.) Dummy wins and leads the three of spades.


If East plays low, West captures South’s ten and returns a spade. East wins and leads a club, but South rises with his ace, discards dummy’s last club on the queen of spades, and claims.

East must put up his king on the first spade (“second hand high!”) to lead a club. This is a tough play for anyone, but it is logical. South must have the ace or king of clubs, since West’s opening lead was not a high club. If South had A 10 2, Q J 9 8 7, 4 3, A 8 3, he would have played differently. Indeed, if he has the ace of spades, East has little hope for four tricks.


You hold: S J 3 H K 10 3 2 D A K 10 6 5 C Q 4. Your partner opens one club. The next player bids one spade. What do you say?

ANSWER: Many players would make a negative double, which, by agreement, would show heart length but a hand unsuitable to bid two hearts. (Here, that bid would promise five or more hearts.) But a negative double, even if available, is unnecessary. Bid two diamonds. If partner has hearts, he will have a cheap second bid of two hearts.

North dealer

Both sides vulnerable


S J 3

H K 10 3 2

D A K 10 6 5

C Q 4


S A 8 7 5

H A 5

D Q 9 8 2

C K 10 8


S K 9 6 4

H 6 4

D J 7

C 9 7 6 5 2


S Q 10 2

H Q J 9 8 7

D 4 3

C A J 3

North East South West

1 D Pass 1 H Pass

2 H Pass 2 NT Pass

3 H Pass 4 H(!) All Pass

Opening lead — H A

(C)2020 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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