BRIDGE

Fri­day, De­cem­ber 7

The Mercury News Weekend - - COMICS - Frank Ste­wart

This week’s deals have treated as­sump­tion by de­clarer: plac­ing the cards so that your con­tract will have a chance. Cover the East-West cards and try to make to­day’s game.

Take note of the bid­ding. You opened one spade; some play­ers might have tried 1NT. (Here’s a clue: Your de­ci­sion to go to four spades was a tri­fle op­ti­mistic, but it’s the East-West bid­ding, or the lack thereof, that should guide you.)

West leads the jack of di­a­monds, and you play dummy’s king with lit­tle hope. East takes the ace and queen and then leads a low heart. You must guess. Do you play the king or the jack?

You must as­sume that East has a heart honor and must also as­sume that he has the king of clubs. But East didn’t open the bid­ding and has shown the A-Q of di­a­monds, so if you hy­po­thet­i­cally place him with the ace of hearts, you will be giv­ing your­self no chance.

You must play the jack of hearts, hop­ing East had a hand such as x x, Q x x x, A Q x, K x x x, with which he wouldn’t open. DAILY QUES­TION:

You hold: ♠ 93 ♥ Q 10 4 2 ◆ AQ7 ♣ K 9 7 3. Your part­ner opens one di­a­mond, and the next player bids two spades (weak). You dou­ble (neg­a­tive), and your part­ner bids three hearts. What do you say?

AN­SWER: Your op­po­nent’s pre-empt has given you a tough guess. Your neg­a­tive dou­ble promised a fair hand with hearts and ei­ther clubs or di­a­mond sup­port. To raise to four hearts might be right, but part­ner has bid un­der pres­sure, and bad breaks are likely. I would pass.

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