“Simple Saturday” columns are meant to help aspiring players improve technique and develop logical thinking. A vital skill of a good defender is the ability to distinguish between times when he must try for tricks in a hurry (“active” defense) and times when he can wait (“passive”). North-South have a strong-sounding auction to game. Dummy will have spade support and a heart suit — and West’s four low hearts suggest it will be a strong suit. Declarer will surely have 10 or more winners, so East-West need four first.
The best chance for defensive tricks lies with the clubs, so West’s opening lead should be the deuce. Some players are reluctant to lead from a king; here, it’s dangerous not to lead from one. East wins and returns a club, and West takes the jack and king. Since he can see no more side-suit tricks, he should lead the 13th club next. When East ruffs with the ten of trumps, South must overruff with an honor, promoting West’s jack for down one.
You hold: ♠ Q42 ♥A K J 10 4 ♦A 8 ♣ 7 5 3. You open one heart, and your partner bids one spade. The opponents pass. What do you say?
ANSWER: Your options: rebid two hearts, bid 1NT or raise to two spades. Any of the three are acceptable. A two-heart rebid should show a six-card suit, but to treat that chunky suit as a six-carder would be reasonable. My choice would be a raise to two spades. Auctions are easier when a trump suit is set early. South dealer N-S vulnerable The Frank Stewart Bridge column is also available in The Mercury