From tough bid­ding to eas­ier play

Cecil Whig - - & & - By Phillip Alder

Yogi Berra said, “It’s tough to make pre­dic­tions, es­pe­cially about the fu­ture.” If you would like to make a tough prediction, cover the auc­tion and de­cide how it should go. Af­ter South opens one heart, and West makes a take­out dou­ble, North has two choices: He can re­spond one spade, plan­ning to try to bid as if West has not en­tered the auc­tion; or he can re­dou­ble to show 10 points or more with fewer than four hearts. Here, North pre­ferred to re­dou­ble. Af­ter this call, the sim­plest rule is that ei­ther the open­ing side buys the con­tract or the in­ter­ven­ing pair plays in some­thing dou­bled for penalty. Next, East, who is known to have a very weak hand, is al­lowed to bid if he has a def­i­nite pref­er­ence among the three un­bid suits; hence his two-club ad­vance. Now South re­bid two di­a­monds, which in­di­cated a min­i­mum or sub­min­i­mum hand in terms of high­card points. (With a good hand, he would have passed now and bid later.)

At this point, North might have men­tioned his spade suit, but he pre­ferred to cue-bid three clubs, ask­ing South to bid three no-trump with a club stop­per. Then, when South de­scribed his 5-5 hand, North made one more try be­fore set­tling into five di­a­monds.

The play was straight­for­ward. South ruffed the sec­ond club, played a di­a­mond to dummy’s king, re­turned a di­a­mond to his ace (West was marked with at least three di­a­monds from his take­out dou­ble, and just maybe hearts would break 1-5), and turned to hearts. West took one trick in each mi­nor.

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