Los Angeles Times - - COMICS - By Frank Ste­wart

The “Sim­ple Satur­day” col­umn fo­cuses on ba­sic tech­nique and strat­egy.

What fac­tors make a win­ning player? Tech­ni­cal knowl­edge, judg­ment born of ex­pe­ri­ence, a sound part­ner­ship. But none of that will help if you try to play while think­ing about where you’re go­ing for din­ner.

Today’s West leads the six of spades against 3NT. East takes the ace and re­turns the queen. South plays the deuce and three. If West fol­lows with the four, East must shift. South can force out the ace of di­a­monds, and West’s king of spades wins the de­fend­ers’ fourth and last trick.

West must fo­cus on his spade spots. He can over­take East’s queen with the king and lead the nine, forc­ing out South’s 10. South has only eight tricks, and West gets in with the ace of di­a­monds to take two more spades.

This play is un­likely to lose. South would not have bid 2NT with 10-3-2 in spades, and if East held AQ-7, he might have played the queen at Trick One.

Ques­tion: You hold: ♠ K9 864 ♥ 763 ♦ A65 ♣ 8 6. The dealer, at your left, opens one heart. Your part­ner dou­bles, and you re­spond one spade. The open­ing bid­der re­bids two hearts, and two passes fol­low. Now what?

An­swer: Don’t sell out when your side has a good trump fit and half the high­card val­ues in the deck. Bid two spades. If your hand had been a bit stronger, you could have jumped to two spades at your first turn to in­vite game.

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