Are agree­ments etched on pa­per?

The Hamilton Spectator - - LIVING - BY PHILLIP ALDER

Solon, an Athe­nian states­man, law­maker and poet who died circa 558 B.C., said, “Men keep agree­ments when it is to the ad­van­tage of nei­ther to break them.”

Bridge part­ners keep agree­ments to try to im­prove their re­sults. How­ever, sit­u­a­tions will arise that have not been dis­cussed. Then one tries to find a log­i­cal ex­pla­na­tion.

In to­day’s deal, look at the South hand. Af­ter West deals and opens three clubs, North cue-bids four clubs, and East passes, what should South do? What does North’s over­call show?

Many play­ers would im­me­di­ately an­swer that four clubs is a Michaels Cue-Bid promis­ing at least 5-5 in the ma­jors. But how would North de­scribe a ma­jor­dia­mond two-suiter?

A com­mon ex­pert prac­tice is via a jump to four di­a­monds (Leap­ing Michaels), but when this deal was played, North-South did not have that agree­ment. South, though, clearly thought his part­ner could have di­a­monds, be­cause he ad­vanced with four di­a­monds, which was passed out. But why bid four di­a­monds, rather than four hearts? Surely you wish to play in part­ner’s ma­jor, when there is the pos­si­bil­ity of gain­ing a game bonus.

In­ter­est­ingly, the de­fense against four of ei­ther red suit is sim­i­lar. Against four hearts, West leads the club ace and shifts to the di­a­mond nine. The de­fend­ers take one club, two di­a­monds and a di­a­mond ruff. Against four di­a­monds, West switches to his heart at trick two, then re­ceives a heart ruff.

Fi­nally, even though it does not work here, East might well bid five clubs over four clubs. It could make, or be a good save, or in­con­ve­nience South.

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