Stamford Advocate


- Frank Stewart

I continue a series on avoiding first-trick errors. Fools who rush in may get the best seats, but they seldom defend well against a close contract.

In today’s deal, South bid 3NT over East’s weak jumpoverca­ll. West duly led a spade, and when dummy played low, East grabbed his king and fired back a spade.

South took the ace and led the jack of diamonds. When West took the king, he led the queen of hearts; no doubt he wished he could borrow a spade from another deck. South won, forced out East’s ace of diamonds, won the spade return with the queen and claimed 10 tricks.

East sabotaged the defense by rushing in.

Since South surely has Q-x-x in spades for his 3NT bid, East should follow with the ten on the first spade, assuming that West has an entry and keeping communicat­ion.

South takes the queen and starts the diamonds, but West wins and leads his last spade. Then, when East takes the ace of diamonds, he has spades to cash. South can win only seven tricks.

DAILY QUESTION You hold: S Q 9 8 H A 5 4 D Q 7 4 3 C A Q 10. You open one diamond, your partner responds one spade, you bid 1NT and he jumps to three hearts. What do you say?

ANSWER: How about a little discipline? You should bid three spades, showing your support for partner’s first suit, which is what he may want to hear. Don’t be a hog and insist on 3NT. If partner has semibalanc­ed pattern, he can always bid 3NT himself next to offer you a choice of games.

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