Which long suit to make trumps?

The Hamilton Spectator - - Style -

BY PHILLIP ALDER

Noel Coward, who had a good sense of hu­mor, said, “I like long walks, es­pe­cially when they are taken by peo­ple who an­noy me.”

In bridge, we fairly of­ten have a long suit. When you and your part­ner have dif­fer­ent long suits, how should you de­cide which to make trumps?

Look at the auc­tion in to­day's deal. When East over­called one heart, South was not strong enough to re­spond two di­a­monds, but, not want­ing to pass with seven points, he com­pro­mised with one no-trump. West com­peted with two hearts, knowing that his side could not have game val­ues if the op­po­nents were hon­est. Now North over­bid slightly with three clubs, but he wished to con­firm the six-card suit. Then it could have been right for South to pass, but he knew that if each mi­nor were a 6-1 fit, it was usu­ally right to make the weaker hand's suit trumps. The opener's high cards will still win tricks, but to get value from the weaker hand, it needs to gen­er­ate trump tricks. So, South re­bid three di­a­monds.

What hap­pens to each mi­nor-suit con­tract?

Three clubs has five top losers: two spades, one di­a­mond and two clubs. To achieve down two, East has to get a di­a­mond or spade ruff. That is not easy to re­al­ize.

Three di­a­monds is tougher to de­feat. West must start with two rounds of trumps to kill the heart ruff on the board. At the ta­ble, af­ter a heart lead, de­clarer won with dummy's ace, played a heart to the king, ruffed his last heart and played dummy's sec­ond trump. He lost only three spades and one heart.

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