Show your suit or sup­port part­ner?

The Hamilton Spectator - - LIVING - BY PHILLIP ALDER

Leigh Hunt, an English poet and writer who died in 1859, said, “If you are ever at a loss to sup­port a flag­ging con­ver­sa­tion, in­tro­duce the sub­ject of eat­ing.”

At the bridge ta­ble, you may won­der which topic to in­tro­duce first: sup­port for part­ner or your own suit? Look at the North hand in the di­a­gram. South opens one spade, and West over­calls two clubs. What should North do?

His choices (in the mod­ern game) are a three-club cue-bid to show spade sup­port and at least game-in­vi­ta­tional strength, or two hearts to men­tion his own long suit.

Nor­mally, I would rec­om­mend sup­port with sup­port, but this is such a good heart suit. Also, if it is a slam deal, men­tion­ing that suit will surely help the auc­tion flow more smoothly. Yes, if North “be­lat­edly” agrees spades, South might ex­pect only two-card sup­port, but that will not al­ways be the case.

In this deal, which­ever North does, the fi­nal con­tract will surely be four spades — as it was at all 16 ta­bles in a du­pli­cate. What was the nor­mal re­sult?

West led his sin­gle­ton di­a­mond. Then it went ei­ther: di­a­mond to the ace, club to the queen (or 10), club ace, club ruff (or over­ruff), di­a­mond ruff and club ruff (dummy’s last di­a­mond was dis­carded); or di­a­mond to the ace, di­a­mond ruff, club ace, club ruff, di­a­mond ruff, club ruff (or over­ruff) — in both cases, the re­sult be­ing down three.

The game con­tract that might have got­ten through was three no-trump. Dou­ble dummy, to de­feat that, West must lead his di­a­mond; East takes the trick and shifts to his club. The cu­ri­ous may work out the rest.

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