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.