It is tempt­ing to play with toys

Cecil Whig - - & & - By Phillip Alder

Sam Leven­son, a hu­morist and me­dia man who died in 1980, said, “The sim­plest toy, one that even the youngest child can op­er­ate, is called a grand­par­ent.” That is so true. But it is fun play­ing with grand­chil­dren, es­pe­cially since you can al­ways give them back to their par­ents.

Bridge play­ers have toys -- their bid­ding con­ven­tions. The big­gest prob­lem is that less-ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers love to em­ploy them at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity, even when a hand does not qual­ify.

Af­ter North re­bid one no-trump to show 12-14 points, South used New Mi­nor Forc­ing, which in the­ory promised at least game-in­vi­ta­tional strength. He should have re­bid a non­forc­ing two hearts, which North would have cor­rected to two spades.

When South used NMF, North un­nec­es­sar­ily jumped to four spades. She should have set­tled for two spades, but if she liked her hand that much, she could have re­bid three spades. This would have given South a chance to sug­gest a slam if he had a suf­fi­ciently strong hand. Also, note that NMF does not guar­an­tee a five-card spade suit. South might have four spades and a big fit with opener’s first-bid suit, so he could be thinking about game or slam in that suit. The de­fend­ers played ac­cu­rately against four spades. West found the best lead of the heart nine. East won with her queen, and South clev­erly dropped his 10. This per­suaded East to shift to a trump, but West, af­ter win­ning with the king, led his sec­ond heart. Even though South smoothly played his jack un­der the ace, East gave her part­ner a heart ruff, and the club king later re­sulted in down two.

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