Bridge: Aug. 21, 2023

Bridge: Aug. 21, 2023

Making today’s contract looks as impossible as kissing your elbow. South is off the A-K of trumps and a spade, and when West leads the queen of clubs, the defense is on the way to winning a club trick before South can draw trumps and pitch a club from dummy on a high spade.

Would you then back the defense? (By now, you may have tried unsuccessfully to kiss your elbow.)

The actual South battled on. He took the king of clubs and led a spade to his queen. West won and led another club to dummy. South then came to his ace of spades and led the jack. If West ruffed with the ace of trumps, dummy would pitch a club. So West ruffed low, and dummy overruffed.


South next led a diamond to his ace, ruffed a spade, ruffed a diamond and led the good fifth spade. Again, West couldn’t gain by ruffing. He discarded, dummy threw the last club and East ruffed.

South ruffed the diamond return and led a trump. When the A-K clashed, South was home. Easier than kissing your elbow.


You hold: S K 6 H A 4 D K 8 7 5 2 C Q J 10 8. The dealer, at your left, opens one heart. Two passes follow. What do you say?

ANSWER: Though it’s possible the opponents have a good spot at spades, you should balance. Your partner has some points, else the opponents would still be bidding, and you may have a game. No action is ideal. To bid two diamonds on a ragged suit or double without spade support is unappealing. Bid 1NT, showing 11 to 14 points.

South dealer

N-S vulnerable


S 7 4

H J 7 6 3 2

D 10 6 3

C A K 9


S K 6

H A 4

D K 8 7 5 2

C Q J 10 8


S 10 9 8 3

H K 5

D Q J 9 4

C 6 5 2


S A Q J 5 2

H Q 10 9 8


C 7 4 3

South West North East
1 S Pass 1 NT Pass
2 H Pass 4 H All Pass
Opening lead — C Q

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