May 21, 2022 – The Mercury News

“Simple Saturday” columns focus on improving basic technique and developing logical thinking.

Cy the Cynic says that if at first you don’t succeed, hire somebody to do it for you. But you can’t bring in someone to substitute for you as declarer. Learn the techniques.

Against today’s 3NT, West leads the ten of hearts: jack, queen, king. Declarer wants to win the next eight tricks. West is likely to have started with five hearts, and if the defenders get in and cash four hearts, South will be down one.

NINE TRICKS

South has options. He can take nine tricks if he picks up the diamonds: five diamonds, two spades, a heart and a club. If the club finesse works, South can win four clubs, two diamonds, two spades and a heart. Which route should he take?

South can combine his chances, a common technique. He takes the KA of diamonds, and when East’s queen falls, South is home.

If at first South didn’t succeed — both defenders played low diamonds — South would finesse in clubs.

DAILY QUESTION

You hold: SAK 4 HK 4 3 DK 5 2 CAJ 10 5. Both sides vulnerable. After two passes, the player at your right opens three hearts. What do you say?

ANSWER: Your opponent’s preempt has left you with no room to look for your best contract; you must guess. You should assume that your partner has a fair share of the missing points. Bid 3NT. If the defenders lead hearts, you can hold up your king and hope to isolate the preempter’s long hearts.

North dealer

NS vulnerable

NORTH

S 9 6 2

HJ 7

DAJ 10 4 3

CQ 9 4

WEST

S 10 7 3

HA 10 9 6 2

D 9 8 6

CK 2

EAST

SQJ 8 5

HQ 8 5

DQ 7

C 8 7 6 3

SOUTH

SAK 4

HK 4 3

DK 5 2

CAJ 10 5

North East South West
Pass Pass 1 C Pass
1 D Pass 2 NT Pass
3 NT All Pass

Opening lead — H 10

(C)2022 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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