Stamford Advocate


- Frank Stewart

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

I play golf, or play at it, and when I’m hitting the ball sideways, it’s because of a fundamenta­l swing flaw such as poor tempo. Many contracts fail because declarer doesn’t attend to first principles.

Today’s South played at four hearts. He would have done well to try 3NT at his second turn. He won the first spade with the ace and forced out East’s ace of trumps. South won the spade return, drew trumps and led a diamond to dummy’s jack. East won and returned a club, and West took the king and cashed a spade. Down one. FOUR LOSERS South had tempo issues.

He had four possible losers, one in each suit. He could get a spade discard on dummy’s queen of clubs but needed to set up that discard promptly.

South takes the ace of clubs at Trick Two, then leads the jack. He wins West’s spade return, goes to the ace of diamonds and discards his last spade on the queen of clubs. Then he can start the trumps. DAILY QUESTION You hold: S A K 4 H K Q 10 7 5 D Q 10 4 C A J. The dealer, at your right, opens one diamond. You double, and your partner bids one spade. What do you say?

ANSWER: You have extra strength and must bid again to show it, but your best action is unclear. To raise spades with only three-card support would be questionab­le. Partner might have four low spades. A bid of 1NT or two hearts is acceptable. Remember that your partner may be broke.

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