Sim­ple Satur­day

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - CLASSIFIED - By FRANK STE­WART

“Sim­ple Satur­day” col­umns are meant to help as­pir­ing play­ers im­prove tech­nique and de­velop log­i­cal think­ing.

Be­gin­ners must ab­sorb a body of ma­te­rial: the struc­ture of a bid­ding sys­tem and the tech­niques of play. But the ap­peal of the game lies in log­i­cal think­ing: work­ing out what to do in­stead of fol­low­ing a “rule.”

Against today’s 3NT, West leads the jack of di­a­monds, and dummy’s queen wins. De­clarer next leads a heart: four, queen, ace. What should West do next?

ACE OF CLUBS

West knows that South has the A-K of di­a­monds and can in­fer that he has the ace of clubs. If South’s clubs were, say, 10-x-x, he would set up the suit promptly. South has shown the queen of hearts, so he can’t have A-Q in spades. That would give him 19 points — too many to open 1NT. And if South has even the ace, 3NT is cold.

At Trick Three, West must lead a low spade. When East’s ace wins, he should re­turn a spade (West’s LOW spade lead shows in­ter­est in spades), and the de­fense will pre­vail.

DAILY QUES­TION

You hold: 10 7 4 K 8 2 Q 5 K Q J 5 3. Your part­ner opens 1NT. North in today’s deal raised to 3NT with this hand. Do you agree, or would you have shown your clubs?

AN­SWER: North’s bid was cor­rect. The clubs will win tricks at notrump, and the cheaper nine-trick game is prefer­able. The times when 3NT fails and you could have done bet­ter at clubs are too rare to worry about. But to bid clubs would be rea­son­able if you held 4, K 8 2, Q 5 4, AQ10765. South dealer N-S vul­ner­a­ble

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