April 8, 2021 – The Mercury News

“I have a terrible fear of speed bumps, but I’m slowly getting over it.” — graffiti

Some people are afraid of not drawing trumps immediately — and watching their winners be ruffed by the defenders. But in some deals, to wait is mandatory.

When today’s West led the queen of hearts against four spades, East saw one chance to beat the contract: He overtook with the king and shifted to his jack of diamonds. South won with the king and speedily led trumps, but East took his ace, underled in hearts to West’s jack and ruffed the diamond return. Down one.


South should have foreseen the outcome if he led trumps too hurriedly. After he takes the king of diamonds, he must cash the K-A of clubs and continue with the queen. When East ruffs low, South doesn’t overruff; he discards his last heart. He ruffs the heart return and starts the trumps.

Since West can no longer get in to give East a diamond ruff, South is safe. He loses one heart, a ruff and the ace of trumps.


You hold: S 5 H 9 5 D A 10 9 4 3 C A Q J 8 4. Both sides vulnerable. The dealer, at your left, opens one spade. Your partner bids two hearts, and the next player passes. What do you say?

ANSWER: Your partner has a good hand to overcall at the two level, vulnerable. Game is likely. Cue-bid two spades to show strength and investigate game. If partner bids a minor suit next or rebids his hearts, raise to game. If he bids 2NT, you might try three clubs.

South dealer

N-S vulnerable


S 5

H 9 5

D A 10 9 4 3

C A Q J 8 4


S 6 2


D Q 8 7 6 2

C 10 7 5 2


S A 7 4

H A K 10 7 6 4 2


C 9 6


S K Q J 10 9 8 3

H 8 3

D K 5

C K 3

South West North East
1 S Pass 2 D 2 H
2 S Pass 3 C Pass
4 S All Pass

Opening lead — H Q

(C)2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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