Lack of fit re­sults in lack of am­bi­tion

Cecil Whig - - & & - By Phillip Alder

Friedrich Ni­et­zsche said, “It is my am­bi­tion to say in 10 sen­tences what oth­ers say in a whole book.” That is quite some goal.

Bridge play­ers al­ways have the am­bi­tion to reach at least game. But when the nor­mal high-card val­ues are not present, it can be tough to work out when game is good. Look at the North hand in to­day’s di­a­gram. You pass, part­ner opens one spade, you re­spond one no-trump (6-9 points), and he re­bids two hearts. What would you do now, if any­thing?

In yes­ter­day’s deal, North was also 2-3 in the ma­jors, but with the spade king and heart ace-queen, all magic cards. Here, North’s hand is much worse. There is a good case for pass­ing out two hearts; it might even be a 5-3 fit. Bid­ding two spades is prob­a­bly all right if that is passed out. A 5-2 fit usu­ally plays better than a 4-3.

When this deal was played in a so­cial game, North did re­bid two spades. South then tried for game with three hearts, and North un­der­stand­ably passed. (Yes, East might have in­ter­vened with two di­a­monds over one no-trump.) Against three hearts, West led her sin­gle­ton di­a­mond. Here, South would have done best to take the trick, cash the heart ace to drop the king, and con­tinue with the spade ace and another spade. That would have led to an over­trick. Un­der­stand­ably, though, he im­me­di­ately played two rounds of spades. East won with his queen and gave his part­ner a di­a­mond ruff. West con­tin­ued with the spade king, and East over­ruffed the dummy. Then another di­a­mond ruff was the de­fense’s fourth and last trick.

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