DAILY BRIDGE CLUB
When you become declarer at a suit contract — especially at the level of game or slam where you won’t (I hope) have many losers — begin your planning by counting your losers. If you have too many, look for a way to avoid one.
In today’s deal, North-South have a routine Stayman auction to four spades, and West leads the jack of hearts. South counts four losers, one in each suit. He can’t help losing a diamond and the black-suit aces, but he can hope to discard a heart from dummy by setting up a second club winner.
South can’t afford to start the trumps at the second trick. East will take his ace and return a heart, setting up a heart trick for the defense before declarer has arranged his discard.
At Trick Two, South leads a club to dummy’s queen, winning, and then returns a club to his 10 and West’s ace. South wins the next heart and discards dummy’s last heart on the king of clubs. Then, having reduced his losers to three, he can start the trumps safely.
You hold: ♠ 732 ♥ J1092 ♦ Q10 ♣ A 7 6 2. The dealer, at your left, opens one club. Your partner doubles, you bid one heart and he raises to two hearts. What do you say?
Answer: Partner’s raise promises about 17 points. He couldn’t raise you with fewer points since your response promised no strength at all. If your ace of clubs were the “wasted” king, you would pass, but the ace is a working card. If you trust partner, bid three hearts. South dealer