The “Simple Saturday” column focuses on basic technique and strategy.
Perhaps the most versatile technique in declarer’s arsenal is the loser-on-loser play. It can be useful in setting up a suit, establishing or breaking communication, or executing an end play.
South leaps to six spades, bidding what he thinks he can make. West leads the king of clubs, and South takes the ace and has to worry about a club loser as well as a possible heart loser. If he draws trumps and finesses in hearts, he would win 13 tricks with a lucky lie of the cards but will go down with the actual lie.
To assure the slam, South takes the ace of diamonds at Trick Two, draws trumps with the king and ace, leads dummy’s queen of diamonds, and discards his losing club when East follows low.
West wins, but South ruffs the club return. He can reach dummy with the nine of trumps to discard two hearts on the J-10 of diamonds and claim the rest.
Question: You hold: ♠ A9 43 ♥ 432 ♦ QJ102 ♣ J 2. Your partner opens one diamond. The next player overcalls one heart. What do you say?
Answer: Many pairs would make a negative double, showing exactly four cards in spades, plus length in clubs or support for diamonds (a “landing place” if opener doesn’t have spades). A bid of one spade would show five or more. What if you have a penalty double of one heart? Pass and hope partner reopens the bidding with a double.