BRIDGE

Los Angeles Times - - COMICS - By Frank Stew­art

On in­ter­net sites such as the pop­u­lar “Bridge Win­ners,” a post headed “ATB” means that some­one wants opinions on a poor re­sult: “As­sess The Blame.”

In a team match, both Wests led the deuce of di­a­monds against 3NT. One de­clarer played low from dummy, and East took the ace and saw no fu­ture in di­a­monds. He shifted to the queen of clubs. Then South had to guess the queen of hearts for his con­tract, and he mis­guessed.

The other de­clarer put up dummy’s queen (!) on the first di­a­mond, and East won and re­turned the five. South played the four and nine, hid­ing his three. West took the jack and king, so South had his ninth trick.

At the sec­ond ta­ble, which de­fender erred?

East might have shifted to clubs at Trick Two; South’s queen-of-di­a­monds play was sus­pi­cious. But West erred by tak­ing the king of di­a­monds. If South held 10-9-4, he would have played low from dummy on the first di­a­mond; with A-105-3, East would have led the three at the sec­ond trick.

Ques­tion: You hold: ♠ Q5 2 ♥ KJ9 ♦ 10943 ♣ 9 7 2. Your part­ner opens one spade. South in to­day’s deal re­sponded 1NT with this hand. Do you agree?

An­swer: South’s ac­tion looks odd to me. A raise to two spades would have been nor­mal, con­firm­ing a trump fit (and mak­ing it hard for the op­po­nents to en­ter the auc­tion). Per­haps South judged that a raise would be psy­cho­log­i­cally too en­cour­ag­ing and might in­duce North to bid too much. North dealer Nei­ther side vul­ner­a­ble

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