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California NewsUSA

February 13, 2024 – The Mercury News

My dictionary – a merciless tome – defines “changeless” as lazy, incapable or lacking the will to do something. Passing on defense can be good or bad, but rushing into pursuit without thinking is lazy.

Today’s West led the queen of spades against 3NT: four, six, two. (If declarer won and led a club, East would win and lead his final spade, thus establishing West’s suit with the ace of clubs as entry.)

When West led another spade, South won and led a club. East took the king but was out of shovels. He led a heart – a diamond would have stopped an overtrick – and South won with the ace, lost a club to the ace and claimed.


After the victory of the queen of spades, West must understand that a continuation of spades is useless. It lacks two entrances to place and cash the long cards. His only chance is to find the East with something in diamonds.

At Trick Two, West can lead the ten of diamonds, a “surrounding” play. The defenders receive two diamonds, two clubs and a spade.


You hold: SAK 2 HKJ 10 2 D 9 6 3 C 6 5 3. Your partner opens a diamond, you answer a heart and he announces a spade. What do you say?

ANSWER: You have enough strength to invite play, but you don’t have a good way to invite. Bidding 2NT without club strength or going to three diamonds (if by invitation) with poor support is not attractive. A “fourth suit” bid of two clubs is possible if it does not force play. Try a heavy but encouraging raise to two shovels.

North Dealer

BORN. vulnerable


S 9 4



CQJ10 9 7 2


SQJ10 8 5 3


QD 10 8

CA 8 4


S 7 6

H 9 8 6 5 4 3

DK 7 5 2




HKJ10 2

D 9 6 3

C 6 5 3

North East South West
1 C Pass 1 H 2 S
Pass Pass 2 NT Pass
3 NT All Pass
Opening lead – SQ

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