Mi­nor suit, steer to­ward no-trump

The Hamilton Spectator - - LIVING - BY PHILLIP ALDER

Seneca, a Ro­man Stoic philoso­pher, states­man and drama­tist, said, “If a man does not know to what port he is steer­ing, no wind is fa­vor­able to him.”

First to­day, look at the North hand and the start to the auc­tion. What should North re­bid over three di­a­monds?

Bridge play­ers ought to know that when they have no ma­jor­suit fit and the val­ues only for game (not a slam), they should steer to­ward three no-trump. Only con­tem­plate five of a mi­nor if con­fi­dent that three notrump will fail.

In this deal, North should re­bid ei­ther three hearts (which gives part­ner a chance to show three-card spade sup­port or to bid three no-trump with a club stop­per) or three no-trump (which is the most likely game).

Note that if North is in three no-trump, East will surely lead the club five, which gives de­clarer three tricks in the suit. He wins in hand, plays a di­a­mond to the queen and ace, then re­turns a di­a­mond to­ward his nine. He can­not be de­feated.

At the ta­ble, North raised three di­a­monds to four di­a­monds. South con­trol-bid four hearts in case his part­ner was think­ing about a slam, but North signed off in five di­a­monds.

West led the heart five: jack, queen, ace. If South had played the ace and an­other di­a­mond, he could have sur­vived. In­stead, he played three rounds of clubs, ruff­ing the last on the board. Then he led the di­a­mond nine to the queen and ace. With per­fect guess­work, de­clarer could have got­ten home, but he un­der­stand­ably con­tin­ued with a low di­a­mond and lost three trump tricks to go down one.

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