Do not ad­ver­tise your whole hand

Cecil Whig - - & & - By Phillip Alder

Will Rogers said, “If ad­ver­tis­ers spent the same amount of money on im­prov­ing their prod­ucts as they do on ad­ver­tis­ing, then they wouldn’t have to ad­ver­tise them.” At the bridge ta­ble, ev­ery bid and most passes, es­pe­cially on the first round of the auc­tion, ad­ver­tise some­thing about a hand. Each player hopes that part­ner will ben­e­fit more than the op­po­nents, but as we have seen this week, that isn’t al­ways the case. Here is another ex­am­ple where track­ing high-card points turns an ap­par­ent guess into a cer­tainty.

In fourth po­si­tion, South opens one heart; North makes a gamein­vi­ta­tional limit raise; and South goes to game. (If your part­ner­ship uses the Drury con­ven­tion, do not stop.) West starts the de­fense with his three top clubs. Af­ter ruff­ing the last, how should South con­tinue? Declarer draws trumps, runs his di­a­monds, dis­card­ing two spades from the board, and leads a spade. When West plays low smoothly, should South call for dummy’s jack or king?

West has shown up with nine points in clubs, but did not open the bid­ding. So, he can­not have the spade ace; South should play dummy’s jack.

How could West know that the third club will not cash? At trick one, East dis­cour­ages with the three. Then he gives re­main­ing count with the four. But even if West shifts to a heart at trick three, declarer should draw trumps end­ing in the dummy and play the club 10. It would take a lot of courage for East to play low while hold­ing the queen; also, he prob­a­bly would have en­cour­aged at trick one if he had the club queen.

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