Bridge Show­ing a side suit

Khaleej Times - City Times - - ENTERTAINMENT -

To­day’s South opens one heart, and North has four-card sup­port and enough val­ues to in­vite game but not to com­fort­ably force to game. Should he raise di­rectly to three hearts (limit) or tem­po­rize with a re­sponse of one spade and show his heart sup­port next as an in­vi­ta­tional se­quence?

I can ar­gue for ei­ther ap­proach. The case for a tem­po­riz­ing re­sponse: Know­ing that North has spade length and strength may help South judge whether to bid game. The case for rais­ing di­rectly: West, the even­tual open­ing leader, will have less in­for­ma­tion on which to base his lead, and East won’t be able to en­ter the auc­tion as eas­ily.

In a penny game at my club, North re­sponded one spade. When North-south got to four hearts, West led the king of di­a­monds.

South hap­pened to be Joe Over­berry, whose de­vo­tion to over­tricks is no­to­ri­ous. Joe thinks it’s no­bler to go down in pur­suit of an over­trick than to make his bid. He took the ace of di­a­monds, drew trumps and led a spade to dummy’s jack. East won, cashed his A-K of clubs and led a di­a­mond to West’s queen.

“The con­tract was cold,” North grum­bled.

“If the spade fi­nesse wins,” Joe sniffed, “I make two over­tricks.” Since East holds the A-K of clubs, de­clarer can exit with a di­a­mond af­ter he draws trumps. If West then leads a club, East can take the A-K but is end-played: He must lead a spade to dummy or con­cede a ruff-sluff. If in­stead West leads a spade at Trick Five, de­clarer takes the ace and leads a club to end-play East.

South dealer

N-S vul­ner­a­ble

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