Home News March 27, 2024 – The Mercury News

March 27, 2024 – The Mercury News


At the Fall Championships, I had the pleasure of delivering a lecture to an audience of intermediate/novice players. I used today’s deal to emphasize that (1) bridge is a problem-solving game and (2) many “expert” skills, such as “card reading,” are not hard.

South sticks his neck out to overcall two clubs, and he survives when North has club help. Against three clubs, West leads the K-A of diamonds. On the ace, East discards. On the next diamond, he ruffs dummy’s ten and shifts to hearts.

Declarer takes the ace and can get home if he can pick up the trumps; he can pitch a heart on dummy’s queen of diamonds. How should he play the trumps?


East had one diamond. He had four hearts to bid the suit (but West needed three to raise). Moreover, nobody bid spades: West would have opened one spade with five spades and five diamonds; East would have responded one spade with 5-4 in the majors.

So East’s shape was 4-4-1-4. South can lead a trump to dummy’s king. When West follows low, South lets the ten ride next. Easy!


You hold: S J 9 8 7 H K 7 6 D A K J 6 4 C 3. Your partner opens one heart. The next player passes. What do you say?

ANSWER: You will commit to game, and most often hearts will be trumps. A response of two diamonds, suggesting a good hand and diamond length and strength, is better than a response of one spade. If your hand were weaker -– AK876,K76,765,43 -– you would try one spade. If partner bid two of a minor suit, you would bid three hearts, invitational. If he rebid two hearts, you might jump to four hearts.

West dealer

Neither side vulnerable


S A 4 2

H 9 4 3

D Q 10 5 3

C K 10 4


S J 9 8 7

H K 7 6

D A K J 6 4

C 3


S Q 10 5 3

H Q J 10 2

D 2

C Q 8 6 2


S K 6

H A 8 5

D 9 8 7

C A J 9 7 5

West North East South
1 D Pass 1 H 2 C(!)
2 H 3 C All Pass
Opening lead –- D K

©2024 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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