Stamford Advocate


- Frank Stewart

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

Among the menagerie of techniques at bridge (we have the “crocodile coup” and “stripe-tailed ape double”), the “duck” — refusing a trick you could win — is the most familiar. Most players know that holding up a winner — “ducking” — may have a tactical advantage. Fewer players know when a hold-up is to be avoided.

In today’s deal, West led the king of hearts against 3NT, and South sagely held up his ace.

But East had signaled with the deuce, so West switched to the deuce of diamonds.

When East played the king, South held up again.

But East returned a heart, and when West got in with the king of clubs, he cashed two hearts. Down one.

Don’t duck if you are in more danger from a switch to some other suit. South must win the first heart, lead a spade to dummy and let the queen of clubs ride. The finesse loses, but South has plenty of winners, and his jack of hearts is safe from attack.

DAILY QUESTION You hold: S 10 6 3 H K Q 10 4 D Q 10 8 2 C K 2. The dealer, at your left, opens one club. Your partner doubles, and the next player passes. What do you say?

ANSWER: Partner’s double shows opening strength or more and support for the unbid suits (or maybe a strong hand with his own suit). With 10 points, you would often jump in a suit to invite game, but your king of clubs, located in front of the opening bidder, may be worthless. Bid one heart.

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