It never hurts to be lucky

The Hamilton Spectator - - LIVING - BY PHILLIP ALDER Look for the Satur­day Bridge and Chess and lo­cal Bridge re­sults in the new Satur­day Fun & Games sec­tion

J.K. Rowl­ing, in her Har­vard Com­mence­ment Ad­dress in 2008, said, “It is im­pos­si­ble to live with­out fail­ing at some­thing, un­less you live so cau­tiously that you might as well have not lived at all. In which case, you’ve failed by de­fault.”

In to­day’s deal, look first at the East hand. With both sides vul­ner­a­ble, the dealer on your right opens one spade. Would you pass, make a take­out dou­ble or over­call one no-trump?

Then look at the North hand. With the op­po­nents main­tain­ing a re­spect­ful si­lence, you open one spade, and part­ner re­sponds one forc­ing no-trump, show­ing 6-12 points. (He will have three spades only with 10-12 points.) What would you re­bid?

This deal was played 16 times at Bridge Base On­line. Sur­pris­ingly, no East, hu­man or ro­bot, en­tered the auc­tion, which was a los­ing pass here be­cause East-West were cold for five hearts. (If you do bid, I think one no-trump is bet­ter than dou­ble. I dis­like take­out doubles with 4-33-3 shape.)

At nu­mer­ous ta­bles, North re­bid two spades, and South con­tin­ued with three di­a­monds, which ended the auc­tion.

One North, who re­quested anonymity, did not like the qual­ity of his spade suit, so re­bid two clubs, which promised only three cards in the suit, but then his hand would nor­mally have had 5=2=3=3 or 5=3=2=3 dis­tri­bu­tion. Af­ter South re­bid two di­a­monds, North kept up his good work by pass­ing — and get­ting the only North-South plus score!

The play was not test­ing. South lost one spade, one heart, one di­a­mond and two clubs. The sev­enth di­a­mond was pro­tec­tion against be­ing tapped in hearts.

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