FRANK STEWART BRIDGE
“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.
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