The “Simple Saturday” column focuses on basic technique and strategy.
As a defender, you assess the dummy and decide how declarer may use its assets, such as they are. In today’s deal, East’s double of South’s four-heart preempt is for takeout, but West judges to pass and leads a spade: king from dummy, ace, six. How should East continue?
In real life, East led a high spade. South ruffed and led a diamond. West took the queen and shifted to a trump, but South won and led another diamond to East’s ace. South ruffed the next spade, ruffed his last low diamond in dummy and took the rest, making four.
East can see that dummy’s only source of an extra trick is a diamond ruff. At Trick Two, East must shift to a trump. There is no rush to try to cash a club or a spade: If declarer has blacksuit losers, he can’t avoid them.
Then West will win a diamond trick to lead a second trump, and South loses three diamonds to go down.
Question: You hold: ♠ 108 742 ♥ 43 ♦ Q74 ♣ Q 6 3. Both sides vulnerable. The dealer, at your right, opens four hearts. After two passes, your partner doubles. West in today’s deal passed with this hand. Do you agree?
Answer: West’s pass was questionable. In today’s deal, four hearts should fail, but four spades could make as the cards lay. One deal proves nothing, but since partner’s double is defined as for takeout, most players would bid four spades.