Los Angeles Times - - COMICS - By Frank Ste­wart

In to­day’s deal, a loser-on-loser play can help de­clarer set up a win­ner or ex­e­cute an end play.

Against four hearts, West led a di­a­mond, and East won with the queen, cashed the ace of trumps and ex­ited with his last trump. South won in dummy and led the king of di­a­monds, ruff­ing when East’s ace cov­ered. South then cashed a high spade, ruffed a spade in dummy and led the nine of di­a­monds, pitch­ing a club.

West took the jack and shifted to a club, but South took the ace and dis­carded his last club on the high eight of di­a­monds. Mak­ing four.

South could also suc­ceed with a loser-on-loser end play. He could win the sec- ond trump in dummy, ruff a di­a­mond, take the top spades to pitch a di­a­mond from dummy, and ruff his low spade.

South could then lead the king of di­a­monds and dis­card a club loser on East’s ace. East would have to lead a spade, con­ced­ing a ruff­s­luff, or lead a club from his king.

Ques­tion: You hold: ♠♥6 K9 8 4 ♦ K 9 8 3 ♣ A Q 5 2. You are the dealer, nei­ther side vul­ner­a­ble. What do you say?

An­swer: Many play­ers would con­sider this a manda­tory open­ing bid; it has ad­e­quate de­fen­sive val­ues. The case for pass­ing is per­sua­sive. You have borderline high-card strength and no length in spades. The hand will be awk­ward to de­scribe af­ter a mi­nor-suit open­ing and the likely re­sponse of one spade. I would pass with no sense of re­morse.

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