Daily Bridge Club
“Simple Saturday” columns are meant to help aspiring players improve technique and develop logical thinking.
Declarer may need to combine basic techniques of play. Against today’s 3NT, West, who opened one spade, leads the queen of spades. Should declarer win or duck?
If declarer thought he would lose an early trick to East, he might take the king and hope for the best. But declarer can prevent East from getting in, hence he should let the queen of spades win — a “hold-up play.”
Suppose West continues with the ace and jack. Then South can’t let West get in, so he takes the king of diamonds and leads to dummy’s jack. East wins but has no more spades, and South has the rest.
Now say that West exits with a club at Trick Two. Then South can’t let East get in; a spade return through the king will be fatal. So South attacks the diamonds by letting the jack ride — an “avoidance play.” He makes an overtrick, but his game would be safe even if West had the queen.
You hold: K 3 2 A 8 4 2 K 8 7 10 6 4. Your partner opens one diamond, you respond one heart and he bids one spade. The opponents pass. What do you say?
ANSWER: This problem lacks a solution. You have three useful honors but no attractive bid to encourage partner. I would bid two diamonds, hoping to hear more from him. I could accept a bid of 1NT (despite the weak clubs) or a raise to two spades (despite the lack of a fourth trump). East dealer N-S vulnerable