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Bridge: Jan. 7, 2023

“Simple Saturday” columns focus on basic technique and logical thinking.

Old burglars never die; they just steal away. Dummy play has a psychological element as well as a technical element. A good declarer knows ways he may steal a trick with deceptive play.

Against today’s 3NT, West leads the deuce of spades. South wins with the queen, but the defenders threaten to set up three spade tricks to go with their two red-suit aces. If South leads a diamond next, West may rise with his ace to continue spades. South will have only eight tricks, and the defense can cash spades when West takes the ace of hearts.


Declarer’s best chance is a touch of larceny. At Trick Two he leads the ten of hearts, faking a finesse. If West plays low, South switches to diamonds to set up nine tricks in time.

Should West be fooled? I think not. West has 13 high-card points. South opened 1NT and accepted North’s invitation to game. East is most unlikely to have the queen of hearts.


You hold: S A Q H Q 10 7 3 D Q 10 4 2 C A K 4. The dealer, at your right, opens one heart. What do you say?

ANSWER: The textbook call is 1NT, showing the same type of hand as a 1NT opening bid but with a stopper in opener’s suit. Many players would choose that call. Some would avoid overcalling 1NT with only 15 or 16 points (to reduce the chance of a heavy penalty). If the opponents are vulnerable, I would accept a pass, hoping to penalize them.

South dealer

N-S vulnerable


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S 6 3

H K J 5

D K J 7 6 3

C 9 6 5


S K 8 5 2

H A 8 4

D A 8

C Q 8 7 3


S J 10 9 7 4

H 9 6 2

D 9 5

C J 10 2



H Q 10 7 3

D Q 10 4 2

C A K 4

South West North East
1 NT Pass 2 NT Pass
3 NT All Pass
Opening lead — S 2

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