“Simple Saturday” columns help players develop logical thinking.
It’s invariably better to get to play last to a trick. Good technique often involves forcing an opponent to play first: an “end play.”
In a matchpoint duplicate event, South could have doubled West’s four diamonds. North would pass, and the result would be down three. But South wasn’t willing to settle for an uncertain penalty when a vulnerable game was possible: He tried his luck at four hearts.
When West led the king of diamonds, declarer took the ace and wanted two overtricks. He drew trumps with the queen and king, led a spade to his queen, winning, and next took the A-K of clubs. South then exited with a diamond.
As South expected, West had held an eight-card suit for his preempt and had only diamonds left to lead. So South ruffed in dummy and discarded his club loser. He then led another spade to his jack and claimed the rest.
Question: You hold: ♠ 5♥ 64 ♦ KQ987642 ♣ J 3. Neither side vulnerable. You deal and open four diamonds. The next player overcalls four spades, and your partner doubles. What do you say? Answer: Your preemptive opening bid described your hand — long diamonds but little defensive strength — and your partner is in charge. Pass. He says he can beat four spades, and you must trust his judgment. To run to five diamonds would be a breach of discipline.