Los Angeles Times - - COMICS - By Frank Ste­wart

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.

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