Help­ing part­ner

Khaleej Times - City Times - - ENTERTAINMENT -

I con­tinue a se­ries on pro­tect­ing your part­ner from er­ror. The eas­i­est way to help is to sig­nal in­tel­li­gently.

To­day’s East-West had bid and raised spades, so West led the ace against three hearts. Since East didn’t like spades, he played the three. That helped West not at all.

Un­sure which mi­nor suit to shift to, West led an­other spade, hop­ing dummy’s king would not pro­vide de­clarer with a use­ful dis­card. But de­clarer threw a di­a­mond, picked up the trumps, and lost two di­a­monds and a club. Mak­ing three. PREF­ER­ENCE West needed help. From his van­tage point, a shift to ei­ther mi­nor could have been right — or wrong. Since East has a pref­er­ence for di­a­monds, he must play the queen on the first spade as a suit-pref­er­ence sig­nal: his high­est spade to show strength in the higher-rank­ing side suit.

If West shifts to a low di­a­mond, the de­fense takes the ten, king and ace. Then any lead by East — for in­stance, the 13th di­a­mond to pro­mote a trump trick — beats the con­tract. DAILY QUES­TION You hold: ♠ A J 10 8 2 ♥ Q 6 ♦ K 9 2 ♣ K 8 7. Your part­ner opens one heart, you re­spond one spade and he re­bids two hearts. What do you say? AN­SWER: You have the val­ues for game. Part­ner’s re­bid prom­ises a six-card or longer suit — he would never be com­pelled to re­bid a five­card suit here — so to jump to four hearts would be rea­son­able. Since your hand is bal­anced, bid 3NT. If part­ner’s hand is dis­tri­bu­tional, he can in­sist on a suit con­tract. West dealer Both sides vul­ner­a­ble

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