The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY)

Daily Bridge Club Stock­ing stuffers

- By FRANK STE­WART

Baron Bar­clay, the world’s largest source of bridge books and prod­ucts, pub­lished two of my re­cent books. In “Play Bridge With Me,” you sit be­side me in 90 deals. In “Keys to Win­ning Bridge,” I fo­cus on the fac­tors that re­ally de­ter­mine how well you do.

A vi­tal de­fen­sive skill is dis­tin­guish­ing “ac­tive de­fense” (grab­bing tricks in a hurry) from “pas­sive” (wait­ing pa­tiently). In to­day’s deal from “Keys,” South takes the ace of hearts and starts the trumps. West wins and tries to cash a heart, and South ruffs, draws trumps and lets the queen of di­a­monds ride.

THREAT

When West wins, he may feel like tak­ing his ace of clubs; dummy’s di­a­monds threaten to pro­vide dis­cards. But West can count South’s tricks: four spades, four di­a­monds and a heart.

South can’t suc­ceed with­out a club trick, so West should exit with a di­a­mond. South must lead clubs him­self and lose two more tricks.

Baron-Bar­clay has all books in print plus gift items for bridge play­ers. See baron­bar­clay.com.

You hold: A 8 K Q 973 K 107 A 95. You are the dealer. West in to­day’s deal opened one heart.

Do you agree with that call?

Whether to open 1NT with, or de­spite, a five-card ma­jor suit is a mat­ter of con­tention. Ex­perts de­cide case by case, but I be­lieve most would open 1NT here, sug­gest­ing the hand’s strength and ap­prox­i­mate shape in one bid. If you open one heart and hear a one-spade re­sponse, you will have no good sec­ond bid.

West dealer

Both sides vul­ner­a­ble

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