First Principles

Dealer: North
N-S vulnerable

H K Q 5
D A Q 10 8 6 3
C 10 8
S 10 5 4
H 9 8 6 3
D J 7 4
C Q 6 2
S A 2
H J 10
D 9 5 2
C A K J 9 5 3
S Q 9 8 7 6 3
H A 7 4 2
C 7 4
North East South West
D C S Pass
D Pass S Pass
S All Pass
Opening Lead: C 2

“We’ve been working on basics because, basically, we’re having trouble with basics.” — Bob Ojeda, former Major League Baseball pitcher, with his team in last place.How’s this for basics? It takes four defensive tricks to beat a major-suit game. But defenders often ignore that principle. Today’s West led a club against four spades, and East took the K-A. He next led a heart.

South won in dummy and led the king of trumps to East’s ace. South won the next heart in his hand, took the jack of trumps, came to the king of diamonds, drew the missing trump and claimed.


For his bidding, South surely has the ace of hearts, so East’s only chance for a fourth trick lies in trumps. At Trick Three, East must lead a third club. When South ruffs in his hand and leads a trump, East plays low. He wins the next trump and leads a fourth club, and West’s ten of trumps wins the setting trick.East can’t know that West has the ten of trumps but has no other legitimate chance to prevail.


You hold:
HK Q 5
DA Q 10 8 6 3
C10 8
. Your partner opens one spade, you bid two diamonds and he rebids two spades. What do you say?

Your partner may have a six-card spade suit but has promised no more than five. You have enough values for game, but to raise the spades would be speculative. Temporize with a bid of three hearts. If partner bids 3NT next, you’ll pass. If he bids three spades or four hearts, you’ll bid four spades.

Copyright © 2015, Tribune Media Services

About the Author:

Frank Stewart is one of the world’s most prolific bridge journalists. He won many tournament events before devoting himself to writing. Frank has published hundreds of magazine and on-line articles. He has written 24 books, among them “Becoming an Expert,” “Play Bridge With Me,” “Who Has the Queen?” and most recently “Keys to Winning Bridge.” In 2014, Frank Stewart received the International Bridge Press Association’s Alan Truscott Award. He has been the senior analyst for ACBL-wide Charity and International Fund events since 1980. Frank and his wife, Charlotte, a pediatric speech pathologist, live in Fayette AL. They have a 17-year-old daughter.

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