Bridge: Sept. 9, 2023

Bridge: Sept. 9, 2023

“Simple Saturday” columns treat basic technique and logical thinking.

Counting the distribution of the concealed hands is not difficult, but it takes focus, practice and experience — and experience is not something you can get on an easy-payment plan.

Practice counting today. You play at four spades. East overtakes the first heart with the king, cashes the ace — West discards a club — and leads a third heart. You ruff high, and West throws a diamond. You take the K-A of trumps, finding West with a singleton, and lead a club to dummy’s king. East wins and leads a fourth heart, you ruff high again and West discards a diamond.


Next, you lead a club to dummy’s queen (a slight risk), draw East’s last trump and ruff your last club in dummy. East plays the jack. How do you handle the diamonds?

East had three spades, six hearts and three clubs, so one diamond. When you cash the ace, East plays the ten, so you can confidently lead to dummy’s nine at the 12th trick.


You hold: S 6 H Q D Q 8 7 5 4 3 C 10 8 7 4 2. Neither side vulnerable. Your partner opens one diamond. The next player passes. What do you say?

ANSWER: Unless partner has extra strength, the opponents can surely make game in a major. Bid four diamonds, showing a distributional hand weak in high cards. If partner has a good hand, he may bid five diamonds and make it, but your primary intent is to make it hard for the opponents to come in.

East dealer

N-S vulnerable


S K 10 8 4

H 8 5 4 2

D K 9 2



S 6


D Q 8 7 5 4 3

C 10 8 7 4 2


S 7 3 2

H A K J 10 9 3

D 10

C A J 6


S A Q J 9 5

H 7 6

D A J 6

C 9 5 3

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

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