FRANK STE­WART BRIDGE

Pretoria News - - THE X-FILES -

SIM­PLE SATUR­DAY

My “Sim­ple Satur­day” col­umns fo­cus on im­prov­ing ba­sic tech­nique and de­vel­op­ing log­i­cal think­ing.

It’s true that tech­ni­cal knowl­edge and the abil­ity to prob­lem-solve are vi­tal to bridge suc­cess. But so are in­born abil­ity, part­ner­ship rap­port, de­sire and — maybe most of all — con­cen­tra­tion. Main­tain­ing fo­cus and play­ing to your level of abil­ity con­sti­tute 75 per­cent of the game. To­day’s West leads the deuce of hearts against four spades. Sup­pose South takes the ace and leads a trump. East wins and re­turns a heart for West to ruff, and the de­fend­ers take the high di­a­monds for down one.

Danger

South has taken his eye off the ball: The danger of a heart ruff is clear. If South is awake, he will win the first heart with dummy’s king and dis­card his ace on the ace of clubs. Then he can lead a trump and lose only three tricks in all.

When you’re at the ta­ble, keep your mind on the busi­ness at hand. You can’t play well if you’re think­ing about where to go for din­ner.

Daily Ques­tion

You hold: ♠ Q 4 ♥ K 10 7 6 3 ♦ 10 6 ♣ A8 7 4. Your part­ner opens one spade, you re­spond 1NT and he bids two hearts. What do you say?

Answer: What be­gan as a “nine-point hand” has be­come huge. You have a use­ful queen in part­ner’s first suit, a fifth heart that will be a win­ner, and a side ace. Bid four hearts. In­stead of count­ing points, imag­ine a pos­si­ble min­i­mum hand for part­ner: A J 5 3 2, A 9 5 4, A 3 2, 6. He will be a heavy fa­vorite for at least 10 tricks.

North dealer Both sides vul­ner­a­ble

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