Arkansas Democrat-Gazette


- BOBBY WOLFF If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, email him at

When West doubles the one-heart opener, North bids two no-trump to show a sound raise to three hearts or more. South takes a shot at game, hoping his side five-carder will prove useful.

After considerab­le time, West chooses to go quietly and leads the diamond king. When East follows with the jack, West tries to cash two more top diamonds. South ruffs in and must find a way to lose no more than one club trick.

Since West probably has most of the missing high cards, South should plan an endplay to avoid the loss of two club tricks. He must strip away the majors, then take a club finesse.

In order to eliminate the spades, South must steel himself to take the spade finesse. When the queen holds, he cashes the spade ace and ruffs a spade. After two rounds of trumps ending in dummy, he can throw West in via a club finesse.

After winning the first round of clubs, West is helpless. If he returns a spade or a diamond,

South can ruff as dummy discards the losing club.

And, of course, a club return would run around to declarer’s tenace.

Since South could afford only one trump for dummy’s three potential spade losers, he had to win two spade tricks with high cards. The finesse was the only possible solution. Also note that if the spade finesse had lost, both club honors would likely have been wrong (or else East might have competed in spades).

Had West underled in diamonds at trick two, perhaps suggested by East’s jack at trick one, a subsequent club shift would have broken up the endplay.

ANSWER: Double. It is somewhat rare to balance after opening a no-trump and hearing nothing from partner. However, when you have four cards in the ranking suit and a small doubleton in the suit overcalled, it is relatively safe to act. All doubles by either player at their first turn to act after an overcall of one no-trump are best played as takeout, whether over or under the trump suit.

 ??  ??
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States