“Simple Saturday” columns are meant to help aspiring players improve technique and develop logical thinking.
Learning players are assaulted with “rules” of defensive play, many of which have a logical basis. But nobody can play bridge through blind adherence to rules.
In today’s deal, dummy plays low on the first spade, and East takes the king and may have heard the admonition about returning partner’s lead: Not to do so is treasonous. But if East returns a spade, South wins, forces out the ace of diamonds and ends with nine tricks or more.
Before returning partner’s lead, East should consider. West’s jack of spades marks South with the queen, so he has two spade stoppers. East can’t beat 3NT with a spade return: The deck has too few points for West to have two entries.
But South’s 1NT denied four cards in hearts, so East can shift to a low heart. South wins, but if West has an entry, he will get in to lead another heart, giving the defense five tricks.
Daily Question: You hold: & A52 h K J 2 ( KQ1096 $ K Q. You open one diamond, your partner responds one spade, you jump to 2NT and he bids three diamonds. What do you say?
Answer: Partner’s bid is forcing. (Unless you have specialized agreements, any bid by him over your 2NT is gameforcing.) For the moment, your duty is to bid three spades, showing your threecard support for his suit. If he doesn’t wish to play at spades, he can return to 3NT or diamonds.