BRIDGE

Los Angeles Times - - COMICS - By Frank Stewart

This week’s deals fo­cus on the im­por­tance of count­ing your tricks as de­clarer. To test your­self, cover the East-West cards. Against four hearts, West leads the deuce of spades. How do you pro­ceed?

You have six trump tricks, two di­a­monds and a spade, and you have time to ruff your third club in dummy. When you can count 10 tricks, make sure you take them. Grab the ace of spades and lead a club to your queen. West wins and shifts to a trump. You win, con­cede a sec­ond club, win West’s trump re­turn in your hand and ruff your last club in dummy.

Then you can come to the king of di­a­monds to draw the last trump and take the ace of di­a­monds. Mak­ing four.

In real life, de­clarer fi­nessed with dummy’s queen on the first spade, and East won and shifted to a trump. De­clarer couldn’t re­cover. He con­ceded two clubs, but the de­fense got to lead trumps twice more, stop­ping a ruff in dummy, and de­clarer had no other chance for a 10th trick.

Ques­tion: You hold: ♠ 76 ♥ AKJ874 ♦ K2 ♣ J 7 3. Your part­ner opens one diamond, you re­spond one heart, he bids one spade. Now what?

An­swer: A jump to four hearts might work, but if part­ner has a low sin­gle­ton heart and good val­ues else­where, you might be­long at 3NT. A jump to three hearts would be ideal if forc­ing, but most pairs treat it as in­vi­ta­tional. Bid two clubs, the “fourth suit,” merely ask­ing your part­ner to make another de­scrip­tive bid.

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