By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Bridge 10/5
You have a loser. Can you lose it?
Placeholder Image
    George Herbert, a Welsh poet who died in 1633, said, "You must lose a fly to catch a trout."
    A declarer must sometimes lose a loser to catch a contract — as in this deal. You are in four spades, and West leads the heart queen. What would you do?
    South might have rebid three no-trump, which would have worked fine here. North would have won at least nine tricks.
    In four spades, there are four potential losers: one spade, one diamond and two clubs.
    Suppose you hope that East has king-doubleton of spades. You win the first trick with dummy's heart ace and take a spade finesse. Here, West wins with his king and plays another heart (or shifts to the club nine). If the defense does not slip, you will lose those four tricks.
    Now count your winners. You should see 10: five spades, two hearts, two diamonds and one club. You can discard one of your club losers on dummy's diamond queen. And there is not much time to lose.
    Take trick one in your hand with the heart king. If you wish, you may cash the spade ace, but it is not necessary. Continue with your diamond ace and diamond jack. West will take the trick with his king (East should play diamonds up the line to show an odd number of cards in the suit) and probably shift to the club nine. Win with your ace, play a heart to dummy's ace, and cash the diamond queen, discarding a club. Then, get trumps drawn as quickly as possible.
    When in a trump contract, if you count losers and winners, you will land more contracts.

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter