Counting Applications
When we speak of counting as declarer, we often mean counting the defenders’ shape. But there are other things to count.

Dlr: East ♠ A J 8 4
Vul: N-S K J 10 5
7 5
♣ 4 3 2
♠ 5 3 ♠ K 6
A 9 8 7 Q 3 2
8 4 3 2 A 10 9 6
♣ J 10 6 ♣ Q 9 8 7
♠ Q 10 9 7 2
6 4
♣ A K 5
East South West North
Pass 1♠ Pass 3♠
Pass 4♠ All Pass

Opening lead — ♣J
At 4♠, South took the ♣A and lost a trump finesse. He won the club return and drew trumps, but when he led the K next, East won and cashed a club. South won the diamond return, led a heart and misguessed, playing dummy’s jack. Down two.

Four Losers

South needed some serious counting. He can count four losers: a club, a diamond, at least one heart and maybe a trump. But he can set up a diamond winner for a fast club discard from dummy.
At trick two, South leads the K. When East returns a club, South takes the king and then the QJ to pitch dummy’s last club.
South next finesses in trumps, losing. He wins the trump return, counts East’s points and leads a heart to the king. East, a passed hand, has shown the ♠K, ♣Q and A. West has the A.

Daily Question

You hold: ♠Q 10 9 7 2 6 4 K Q J  ♣A K 5.
The dealer, at your right, opens 1. You bid 1♠, the next player raises to 2 and two passes follow. What do you say?

Your partner has a few values, else the opponents would have bid more. Moreover, since they have a trump fit in hearts, your side probably has a fit somewhere. Double. Partner will support your spades or bid a minor. Your primary goal is to push the opponents higher.

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