Weird shapes may play in no-trump

Cecil Whig - - COMICS & PUZZLES - By Phillip Alder

Lau­rence J. Peter was a Cana­dian ed­u­ca­tor and “hi­er­ar­chi­ol­o­gist” who said “Real, con­struc­tive men­tal power lies in the creative thought that shapes your destiny, and your hour-by-hour men­tal con­duct pro­duces power for change in your life. De­velop a train of thought on which to ride.” In bridge, the shape of a hand has a big in­flu­ence, in par­tic­u­lar dur­ing the auc­tion. With a dis­tri­bu­tional hand, we bid our long suits; in con­trast, bal­anced hands aim to­ward no-trump -- but not al­ways. What do you think of the bid­ding in this deal? Also, how should South plan the play in three no-trump af­ter West leads the heart nine: two, six, jack? How would six di­a­monds by North get on?

I like the auc­tion, al­though six di­a­monds isn’t bad. (Here, with dou­ble-dummy play, East has to lead a trump to de­feat the slam. But if the black-suit aces were ex­changed, seven di­a­monds would be mak­able.)

North’s two-di­a­mond re­bid was forc­ing one round, promis­ing at least game-in­vi­ta­tional val­ues. South, with stop­pers in the un­bid heart suit, was right to bid two no-trump, de­spite how weird that looked with his void. North could not have four hearts, be­cause she would have re­bid two hearts, not two di­a­monds.

In three no-trump, South started with seven top tricks: two hearts and five di­a­monds. He led the club king at trick two, in­tent on es­tab­lish­ing two win­ners there. East played low, so South con­tin­ued with the club queen. When East took that trick, he had no good play. Even­tu­ally, South won 10 tricks.

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