Bridge: March 18, 2023

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

One of the world’s top players is a nobleman from a small European principality, Count Yurtrix. Though not well known beyond his area, he’s a capable declarer who never boots an easy contract.

The Count was declarer at today’s four hearts, and West led the jack of clubs. The Count always counts winners and losers before he touches a card. He saw four losers: a spade, the ace of trumps, a diamond (if the finesse lost) and a club. But declarer could set up dummy’s jack of diamonds as a winner for a club discard.


The Count won the first club with the ace and continued with the A-Q of diamonds. West won and led another club, but declarer won in dummy and pitched his club loser on the jack of diamonds. The contract was safe.

Players would do well to emulate Count Yurtrix. Count your winners (generally, at notrump) and losers (generally, at a high-level suit contract) to help plan your play.


You hold: S Q 7 6 H Q 8 7 6 5 D A Q C A 6 4. Your partner opens one diamond, you respond one heart and he bids one spade. What do you say?

ANSWER: Partner’s hand is not well defined. He may have 12 points or 18, balanced or unbalanced. You have a club stopper and could bid 3NT, but it’s better to let him continue to describe his hand. Bid two clubs, a forcing “fourth-suit” call. If partner holds AKJ2,104,K8654,Q3, he should be declarer at notrump.

North dealer

N-S vulnerable


S 9

H K J 9 4 3 2

D J 7 2

C K 7 5


S A 10 8 2

H 10

D K 10 5 3

C J 10 9 3


S K J 5 4 3


D 9 8 6 4

C Q 8 2


S Q 7 6

H Q 8 7 6 5


C A 6 4

North East South West
Pass Pass 1 H Pass
4 H All Pass
Opening lead — C J

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