The sin­gles suit sparks stum­bles

Cecil Whig - - & & - By Phillip Alder

What does the word mean?

Ob­vi­ously, it de­pends upon con­text. It can be one (not two or more), or un­mar­ried, or a base­ball hit that gets a run­ner to first base. In to­day’s deal, a sin­gle suit caused nu­mer­ous prob­lems in a du­pli­cate tour­na­ment. Every South was in four spades. Each faced the start of three rounds of clubs. Af­ter that, though, the paths di­verged. What should the de­clar­ers have done?

South was tempted to add an ex­tra point (be­cause of his good five-card suit) and open two notrump. But the low dou­ble­ton club was a dis­tinct mi­nus fea­ture. That North hand, as sin­gle raises go, on a scale from one to 10, would be rated much closer to one than to 10.

South starts with four po­ten­tial losers: one spade, one heart and two clubs. He can­not do any­thing about the rounded suits, so he must hope that East has the spade king and can be fi­nessed out of that card.

The ma­jor­ity of the de­clar­ers in this tour­na­ment ruffed the third club low, crossed to dummy with a heart, and ran the spade jack. Great, it won. So they con­tin­ued with a spade to the queen, but West’s di­a­mond dis­card was a rude jolt. Sud­denly the con­tract had to fail by a sin­gle trick. The few far­sighted Souths ruffed the third club with the spade nine or 10. Then, af­ter cross­ing to the board with a heart, they ran the spade eight, un­der­play­ing their four. Then they could pass the spade jack, play a spade to the queen, cash the spade ace to catch East’s king, and claim. Study this suit com­bi­na­tion and its close cousins. “sin­gle”

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