“Sim­ple Satur­day” col­umns are meant to help as­pir­ing play­ers im­prove tech­nique and de­velop log­i­cal think­ing.

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - by Frank Ste­wart

You’re to­day’s East, de­fend­ing against four spades. On the bid­ding, South clearly has a bun­dle of ma­jor-suit cards. He bid game all by him­self — and af­ter West showed strength.

South ruffs West’s king of di­a­monds, takes the A-K of hearts and ruffs a heart with dummy’s queen of trumps. West has fol­lowed with the deuce, ten and queen. How do you de­fend?

You can over­ruff, but here’s a de­fen­sive prin­ci­ple: It is sel­dom right to over­ruff with a win­ner you’ll al­ways get. If you over­ruff and lead an­other di­a­mond, de­clarer will ruff and lead the jack of trumps to West’s ace. When de­clarer gets back in, he will draw the miss­ing trumps and lose one club, mak­ing four.

If you dis­card on the third heart, South will lead dummy’s three of trumps next: five, jack, ace. Then your K-8 will be worth two tricks, and your ace of clubs will win the set­ting trick.

Daily Ques­tion: You hold: & K85 h 8 4 ( 8754 $ A 8 5 2. Your part­ner opens one heart, you re­spond 1NT and he bids two spades. What do you say?

An­swer: Part­ner’s “re­verse” sug­gests sub­stan­tial ex­tra val­ues. His sec­ond bid is not only forc­ing, it prom­ises that he will bid again. You have no good ac­tion. A bid of 2NT would be ac­cept­able, but you have no di­a­mond strength. If your spades were K-Q-5, a raise to three spades might be best. I would choose a re­turn to three hearts.

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