Bid what you have to bid — con­fi­dently

Sherbrooke Record - - CLASSIFIED - By Phillip Alder

Ju­lian Fel­lowes, in a script for “Down­ton Abbey,” wrote, “Lawyers are al­ways con­fi­dent be­fore the ver­dict. It’s only af­ter­wards they share their doubts.”

At the bridge ta­ble, try to ooze con­fi­dence. In to­day’s di­a­gram, look at the South hand. West opens two spades, and East raises to four spades. What should South do?

The right bid is clear-cut, al­though it will not nec­es­sar­ily re­sult in the best­pos­si­ble re­sult. South must bid five hearts. Maybe it will turn a plus against four spades into a mi­nus; or it might end the bid­ding and miss a slam, East hav­ing raised with sev­eral spades and few points.

At 11 of 16 ta­bles in a du­pli­cate, five hearts was passed out. How did South plan the play af­ter West sur­pris­ingly led a trump, and East dis­carded the spade seven?

At this stage, South was not sure of the fate of four spades or five hearts. Usu­ally, when West does not lead a spade here, it means that he has the ace. So, de­clarer drew trumps and ex­ited with his spade, hop­ing West would be forced to open up one of the mi­nors.

How­ever, East took the trick and would have done best to shift to a di­a­mond. Here, though, he led a club. West won with his king and re­turned the suit. Now South hoped to es­cape for down one. Just in case West started with 6-3-13 dis­tri­bu­tion (al­though he prob­a­bly would have led his sin­gle­ton), de­clarer won the sec­ond club in his hand, played a club to the jack and led a di­a­mond to his king to es­cape for down one and get a near-top. (Most de­clar­ers went down two, and one South made four hearts.)

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