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.