The Mercury News Weekend - - LOCAL NEWS - Frank Ste­wart

Fri­day, Jan­uary 11

Here’s an­other deal from my monthly game in Birm­ing­ham with old friends and for­mer team­mates.

I was South, and West led the jack of di­a­monds against my three spades. I won in my hand and led a trump to dummy’s ace and a sec­ond trump. When East dis­carded, I took the king and led the jack to West’s queen. Then West shifted to hearts, and East played three rounds, pro­mot­ing West’s nine of trumps. West also got the ace of clubs: down one.

I have writ­ten that con­tracts that look easy need ex­tra care, and I should have taken my own ad­vice here. If I cash the king of trumps at Trick Two and let the jack ride, I’m safe. No trump pro­mo­tion could oc­cur.

True, I might go down if East had Q-9-x-x in trumps. He could get in and force me to ruff a heart, threat­en­ing me with loss of trump con­trol. I would fail if a de­fender had four or more hearts and the ace of clubs.

I was un­lucky to go down on the line I ac­tu­ally chose, but hav­ing thought about it, I be­lieve I mis­played.


You hold: ♠ K J 10 5 2 ♥ J6 ◆ AK6 ♣ K Q 3. I held this hand, as per to­day’s deal, and opened one spade as the dealer. Do you agree with my ac­tion or would you have opened 1NT?

AN­SWER: In my judg­ment, the good five-card suit made the hand too strong to open 1NT, even with a range of 15 to 17 high-card points. Of course, many play­ers would be reluc­tant to sup­press a five-card ma­jor suit — es­pe­cially a spade suit — un­der any cir­cum­stances.

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