Logical Play

Dealer: South
N-S vulnerable

S A K 9 3
H A J 10
D 7 6 4
C K 7 5
S 8 6 5 4
H K 9 8
D A J 8 5 3
C 9
S Q 7 2
H 7 5 3 2
D Q 10 9 2
C 10 3
S J 10
H Q 6 4
C A Q J 8 6 4 2
1 CPass1 SPass
2 CPass4 CPass
4 DPass6 CAll Pass
Opening Lead: D A

Reading the cards — my topic this week — assumes that you can rely on your opponents to play logically. Always assume that they have. If you make a well reasoned play that fails because an opponent did something silly — well, you can have a good laugh.Against today’s slam, West led the ace of diamonds and switched to the nine of hearts. South was reluctant to finesse — the lead of the nine looked ominous — so he took the ace, drew trumps and let the jack of spades ride. He went down two when East won and led a heart to West’s king.

“The spade finesse might have won,” South shrugged. Did he miss a clue?


South should have asked himself why West would switch to a heart if he had only low hearts. If South held a hand such as 2, K 6 4 2, K, A Q J 8 6 4 2, West would guess the queen of hearts for him, giving away the slam.South should judge that West is trying to dissuade him from taking a finesse that will win. South should play a low heart from dummy at Trick Two.


You hold:
SA K 9 3
HA J 10
D7 6 4
CK 7 5
. Your partner opens one diamond, you bid one spade and he raises to three spades. What do you say?

Partner has four-card support and a hand worth about 17 points in support of spades. A direct jump to six spades might get you to a good contract in a hurry. If you prefer to go slowly, cue-bid four hearts to show your side ace. Then if partner encourages by cue-bidding five clubs, bid six 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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