Take All Your Chances


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North
♠ K J 10
10 4 2
J 5 3
♣ A Q J 5
South
♠ A Q 9 8 4 3
A K J 5
Q 8 2
♣ —

With both sides vulnerable, West opens 1, North and East pass, you double, partner responds 3♣, too strong to make a forced 2♣ response. You bid 3♠, forcing, and partner raises to 4♠. Incidentally, when making or responding to a takeout double, devalue jacks and queens in any suit or suits the opponents have bid unless responding in notrump or having a death wish.

West leads the A K and a diamond. East trumps the third diamond and exits with a low heart. Spades are 2-2. What is your plan? (Notice that the jack and queen of diamonds were worthless).

12 HCP are missing and West, the opening bidder, is a heavy favorite to have all 12. Win the A, cross to a spade, play the ♣A, discarding a heart, and trump a club. Return to dummy with a spade and trump another club. If the king appears, use the ♣Q to discard a second heart. If the king doesn’t appear, try to drop the Q in the West hand. Why finesse into a player who is known to have the queen?

Tip #1 When the bidding tells you that a particular defender must have a particular card, play that defender for that card even if it means going against the odds in the play of that suit.

Tip #2 Assume an opening bidder has at least 12 HCP unless the opener is known to have a distributional hand in which case 10 or 11 HCP is possible.

♠ K J 10
10 4 2
J 5 3
♣ A Q J 5
♠ 5 2 ♠ 7 6
Q 8 7 9 6 3
A K 10 6 4 9 7
♣ K 10 9 ♣ 8 7 6 4 3 2
♠ A Q 9 8 4 3
A K J 5
Q 8 2
♣ —