Los Angeles Times - - COMICS - By Frank Ste­wart

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.

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