Presence of mind is essential for success, but for some it can be accompanied by absence of thought.
At today’s six hearts, South took the ace of spades and cashed the ace of trumps. When West showed out, declarer had enough presence of mind to start the diamonds next, while dummy still had a trump entry. He led the ace and a second diamond.
West could infer that East had the jack — South could have finessed if he had it — so West played low smoothly. South appraised his opponent and f inessed with dummy’s 10. East took the jack and shifted to a club, and South lost the f inesse and went down one.
West did well to duck the second diamond — if he took the king, dummy’s Q- 10 would give South two club discards — but South’s play was thoughtless. Even if dummy’s 10 forced out the king from East, South would get only one club discard and would still have to rely on the club finesse.
South must put up the queen on the second diamond.
Question: You hold: ♠K 8 63 ♥ 6 5 3 ♦ J 8 2 ♣ 10 8 7. Your partner opens one heart. The next player doubles. What do you say?
Answer: Many experts treat a raise to two hearts here as a mild obstructive move. Many experts would choose that action. I would pass. I prefer to have one sure trick as well as heart support to raise. With K 8 6 3 2, 10 6 5 3, 8, 10 8 7, everyone would jump to three hearts, preemptive. 2015, Tribune Content Agency