Be care­ful when you make a sig­nal

Cecil Whig - - & & - By Phillip Alder

Ben Ber­nanke, a for­mer chair­man of the Fed­eral Re­serve, said, “My pro­posal that Fed gov­er­nors should sig­nal their com­mit­ment to pub­lic ser­vice by wear­ing Hawai­ian shirts and Ber­muda shorts has so far gone un­heeded.” Bridge de­fend­ers should sig­nal to each other and try to make the sig­nals as con­spic­u­ous as a Hawai­ian shirt or a miniskirt in a Mid­dle East­ern bazaar. But at times they need to be care­ful -- as in this deal. South is in three no-trump. Af­ter West leads his low­est heart, what should hap­pen?

South does not like to re­spond one no-trump with only one heart stop­per, but with seven points, he should do some­thing pos­i­tive. North, look­ing at seven sure tricks, should have no com­punc­tion in jump­ing to three no-trump. Why look at five clubs, where 11 tricks are needed for game, when nine will do in no-trump?

If you did not sup­port part­ner’s bid suit, lead low from length even with­out an honor in the suit. Giv­ing length in­for­ma­tion is more im­por­tant than strength in­for­ma­tion. Since South must have the heart king for his one-no-trump re­sponse, if East takes the first trick with the heart ace and con­tin­ues with the heart queen, South will win that trick and run for home, tak­ing the spade fi­nesse if he needs a ninth trick to go with one spade, one heart and six clubs. East must hope that his side can im­me­di­ately take four di­a­mond tricks. He wins with his heart ace and shifts to the di­a­mond ace or queen. West does have the di­a­mond king, so should sig­nal his en­thu­si­asm, but it must be muted with the six, not the nine.

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