Bridge: April 10, 2021

“Simple Saturday” columns are meant to improve basic technique and logical thinking.

One difficult aspect of learning bridge is that many “rules” of play have exceptions — and the exceptions have exceptions.

Today’s West leads the seven of spades against 3NT: deuce from dummy, king from East. If South has learned to avoid holding up a winner if that play will cost a trick, he will take the ace — and lose his contract.

If South leads a heart next, East wins and returns a spade, and West plays low to keep communication. South has only eight tricks. When he forces out the ace of clubs, East wins and leads his last spade, and West takes three spades. Down one.


West’s opening lead suggests long spades headed by the queen, but East is marked with the other missing high cards for his opening bid. South must duck East’s king of spades and duck the spade return.

West can establish his spades but will never get to cash them. South will lose two spades and two aces.


You hold: S K 6 5 H A 2 D Q 10 9 8 4 C A 8 3. With both sides vulnerable, the dealer, at your right, opens one spade. What do you say?

ANSWER: To overcall at the two level, especially when you’re vulnerable, you need a good hand and usually a six-card or longer suit. Pass. To bid two diamonds here has uncertain chances to gain anything and risks being doubled and penalized — either immediately or when your partner competes too actively.

East dealer

Both sides vulnerable


S 10 2

H K 10 9

D A 6 5 3

C Q 10 9 7


S Q 9 8 7 3

H 7 6 4 3

D 7

C 5 4 2


S K 6 5

H A 2

D Q 10 9 8 4

C A 8 3


S A J 4

H Q J 8 5

D K J 2

C K J 6

East South West North
1 D 1 NT Pass 2 NT
Pass 3 NT All Pass

Opening lead — S 7

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