Jacoby two no-trump: support and power
Jacoby Jones, who has played football for the Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens, commented, “I say my greatest strength is my speed, and I think that I could use some work on my concentration.” Good bridge players go very slowly at trick one and concentrate on the cards. Today, though, we are more interested in Jones’ first name: Jacoby. Oswald Jacoby, one of the all-time great bridge players, devised his eponymous Transfers (which we studied earlier this week) and the Forcing Raise (today’s topic). If partner opens one of a major, the next player passes, and responder bids two no-trump, he shows at least game-forcing values with four or more trumps. In textbook Jacoby Forcing Raise, the opener’s rebids are strange; they are available on the Internet. But you can Keep It Simple, Sensible, by making natural rebids, or, as South does here, jumping to game with a minimum.
How should South play in four spades after West leads the heart nine? On a bad day, declarer might lose one spade, two hearts and one club. Before he plays from the dummy at trick one, he concentrates on the lead. Since a nine is top of nothing, East has the heart ace-jack. To freeze out that suit, South must call for dummy’s queen. East wins with his ace, but cannot return the suit without sacrificing a trick there.
Suppose East shifts to a club. West wins and leads the heart eight, but South takes the trick, draws two rounds of trumps, then plays off dummy’s club winners to discard his heart loser.