Aim for game most likely to make

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - BY PHILLIP ALDER

War­ren Buf­fett, who is a keen bridge player, said, “If past his­tory was all there was to the game, the rich­est peo­ple would be li­brar­i­ans.”

At the bridge ta­ble, any time you smell a game, bid that game. (Yes, if you are play­ing in a match­pointed pairs event, you tend to be more cir­cum­spect.)

In to­day’s deal, look only at the North hand. He opens one spade, his part­ner re­sponds one forc­ing no-trump (show­ing 6-12 points and fewer than four spades), he con­tin­ues with two di­a­monds, and South re­bids two no-trump (game-in­vi­ta­tional). What should North do now?

The draw­back of in­clud­ing this deal, which was played at Bridge Base On­line, is that you know South must be the de­clarer, which sug­gests that bid­ding spades or di­a­monds can­not be right. On BBO, though, al­most every North con­tin­ued with three di­a­monds, which ended the auc­tion. Af­ter a club lead, de­clarer was able to win 11 tricks by dis­card­ing his heart on the third round of clubs. As you can see, it takes a heart lead to de­feat five di­a­monds.

How­ever, one North felt that game in ei­ther of his suits was un­likely, and the run­ning spade suit sug­gested that three notrump could be the win­ner.

Right he was. West led the heart ace, un­der which East strangely en­cour­aged with his nine. This per­suaded West to con­tinue with a low heart. South won with her 10 and ran the spades. East pitched a club, and West erred by dis­card­ing all of his clubs. So, when de­clarer cashed dummy’s club king, all be­came clear and she took 11 tricks: five spades, one heart, one di­a­mond and four clubs.

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