Watch the spots to avoid road bumps

Cecil Whig - - & & - By Phillip Alder

Here is one of Jeff Fox­wor­thy’s red­neck jokes: “If you think the last four words of the na­tional an­them are ‘Gen­tle­men, start your en­gines,’ you might be a red­neck.” When you are a bridge de­clarer, you try to play smoothly and make your con­tract. Like a race car driver, you try to steer around bumps in the road. In to­day’s deal, which bump should South avoid in three no-trump af­ter win­ning the first trick with dummy’s heart 10? In the auc­tion, af­ter North opened with a weak two-bid, South sen­si­bly used the ar­ti­fi­cial two-no-trump in­quiry. He planned to pass if part­ner re­bid three spades to show a min­i­mum. Here, though, North replied with three no-trump. In the old days, this guar­an­teed a suit headed by the ace-king-queen. How­ever, as that hap­pened so rarely, nowa­days this re­bid in­di­cates a max­i­mum with a suit headed by at least the ace-queen-jack. (Note that four spades fails if East leads a club, West shifts to a di­a­mond and West gets a club ruff.) South un­der­stand­ably wanted to score four club tricks, but just in case the break was bad, he care­fully cov­ered dummy’s six with his jack. West now made a very sneaky play -- she shifted to the spade 10! South never be­lieved West could be un­der­lead­ing the king, so he won with dummy’s ace and suc­cess­fully ran the club eight, un­der­scor­ing his key play at trick two. De­clarer took an­other club fi­nesse, then cashed his re­main­ing win­ners in that suit and hearts. Fi­nally, he led the heart jack and was lucky that he had to score his di­a­mond king.

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