Los Angeles Times - - COMICS - By Frank Stewart

Ev­ery month, I go to Birm­ing­ham, Ala., for din­ner and bridge with old friends. We al­ways have in­ter­est­ing deals. Cover to­day’s West and South cards. De­fend as East.

Against 3NT, West leads the four of hearts: eight, jack ... and South plays low.

You know South has the ace of hearts — oth­er­wise, his play makes no sense — and West has the queen. West also has the ace of di­a­monds; he wouldn’t back in with a take­out dou­ble with only a queen and a jack in the red suits. You must as­sume West has the king of clubs to have a chance. He also needs a spade honor for his dou­ble, and it must be the queen; the ace would give him an open­ing bid. If you shift to the seven of spades, South must play the 10. If he takes the ace, he will lose two spades, a heart, a di­a­mond and a club. But then West shifts back to hearts for five tricks.

This de­fense was marked, but I missed it. (De­clarer erred by duck­ing the first trick.) My only ex­cuse is that I was full of din­ner. Sorry, part­ner.

Ques­tion: You hold: ♠ Q8 3 ♥ Q954 ♦ A875 ♣ K J. You deal and pass, the next player bids one club, your part­ner passes and the player at your right re­sponds one spade. In to­day’s deal, West dou­bled in this po­si­tion. Do you agree?

An­swer: West’s dou­ble showed a near-open­ing bid with length in the red suits. His ac­tion was dan­ger­ous — the K-J of clubs looked worth­less — and might have given the op­po­nents use­ful in­tel. I would have passed.

West dealer Nei­ther side vul­ner­a­ble

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