Los Angeles Times - - COMICS - By Frank Ste­wart

I con­tinue a se­ries on tak­ing care to count your tricks as de­clarer. Never try to jump over a chasm in two jumps: Look for a sure way to make your con­tract. Don’t spec­u­late.

At to­day’s 3NT, South cap­tured East’s queen of clubs and saw smooth sail­ing: He had ev­ery suit un­der con­trol. So South next cashed the ace of diamonds — and dark­ness fell.

When West threw a heart, South let the jack of hearts ride, but East took the queen and led the queen of diamonds. South won and led another heart, but East won, cashed his J-10 of diamonds and led a club to West’s king. Down one.

South was un­lucky, but since a 4-0 di­a­mond break would oc­cur one time in 10, his play was spec­u­la­tive. South has six top tricks and can surely get three more. A safe play is to pass the jack of hearts at Trick Two.

If East takes the queen and re­turns a club to the king (South can han­dle any other de­fense), South wins the next club and forces out the ace of hearts to as­sure an over­trick. Ques­tion: You hold: ♠ K6 3 ♥ J9 ♦ AK75 ♣A J 10 9. The dealer, at your right, opens two hearts (a weak two-bid). You dou­ble, and your part­ner bids three clubs. What do you say? An­swer: Though your clubs are im­pres­sive, you promised sup­port when you dou­bled. Your strength is about av­er­age, and your jack of hearts is a wasted point. Pass. Part­ner may need ev­ery­thing you have to take nine tricks.

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