“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.
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