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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

“Out of the heart a rapture, Then a pain; Out of the dead, cold ashes, Life again.” – John Banister Tabb

Bobby Wolff United Feature Syndicate

August may not be the right time to think about freezing.

But in bridge terms the word has a special connotation.

By leaving an opponent to tackle a particular suit, you may gain a trick, compared to what might happen if you had to play it yourself.

This technique is called freezing a suit.

Ducking to freeze a suit was one consideration today, but the threat of defensive ruffs was another.

The natural way to play four spades on the lead of the club seven to East’s ace, with the return of the club queen at trick two, is to cover and suffer the ruff.

Later on, you can draw trumps and strip off the red suits, then try to exit to West with the third heart to force him to give you a ruff and discard.

However, East’s heart jack allows him to win the trick and cash the club for down one.

A far better move is to duck the second club.

After all, if West’s lead is to be believed, he has either a singleton seven or specifically J-9-7 in clubs.

If East now continues the suit, he gives his partner the ruff, but you no longer have a club loser.

If East switches, he collects a club trick in the end, but no ruff.

Either way, you have 10 tricks.

Bid with the aces

South holds:

♠ J 7
♥ J 8 5
♦ Q J 8 7
♣ A Q J 9
1 ♣1 ♥Dbl.Pass

Answer: On this sequence, where partner has forced you to pick a suit, you can bid two diamonds without showing real extras.

With a reverse (that is, with extras and 4-5 in the minors), you would jump to three diamonds now, so this sequence shows a minimum hand.