Pretoria News - - THE X-FILES -


“Sim­ple Satur­day” col­umns are meant to help my read­ers im­prove ba­sic tech­nique and de­velop log­i­cal think­ing. Sup­pose I of­fer to bet you a dol­lar on the flip of a coin: a 50-50 propo­si­tion. You might ac­cept if you felt lucky. But say I of­fer to flip the coin twice, and you win if you call ei­ther flip cor­rectly. Surely you would bet.

When you are de­clarer, two chances for your con­tract are bet­ter than one. To­day’s West leads the jack of diamonds against 3NT, and East plays the nine to keep com­mu­ni­ca­tion. South wins and needs eight more tricks. De­feat South has four clubs, two spades, a heart and a di­a­mond. He can get a ninth trick if a fi­nesse works in spades or hearts, but a los­ing fi­nesse will mean de­feat; East will run the diamonds.

Ei­ther fi­nesse of­fers a 50-50 chance, but South can give him­self two chances. He takes his four clubs and then the K-A of spades. When East’s queen falls, South is home. If East-West played low spades, South would fi­nesse in hearts.

Daily Ques­tion

You hold: ♠ A J 9 3 2 ♥ 8 2 ♦ 7 6 ♣ Q J

7 6. Your part­ner opens one heart, you re­spond one spade and he bids two diamonds. What do you say?

An­swer: Your hand isn’t strong enough to try 2NT and cer­tainly not strong enough to bid three clubs, forc­ing. A re­bid of two spades would sug­gest a weak hand but longer or at least stronger spades. Your cor­rect call, unattrac­tive as it may seem, is two hearts to re­turn to your longer com­bined trump suit. South dealer N-S vul­ner­a­ble

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