Use­ful in­for­ma­tion

Connecticut Post (Sunday) - - Take A Break - FRANK STEW­ART

Most play­ers know about “bal­anc­ing”: back­ing into the auc­tion when the op­po­nents stop low. “Pre- bal­anc­ing,” which re­quires for­ti­tude and judg­ment, is act­ing with a light hand when you think the op­po­nents are about to stop low and your part­ner won’t be able to bal­ance. Many ex­perts em­brace the con­cept. But your part­ner may not be able to tell whether you have a good hand or a light hand, and if you en­ter the auc­tion when your op­po­nents are likely to de­clare, you may give away vi­tal in­for­ma­tion. In to­day’s deal, East’s 2NT was “Un­usual,” show­ing length in both mi­nors. Play­ing at four spades South took the ace of clubs and re­turned a club. East won and led the ace and jack of di­a­monds. South won, took his king of trumps and led to ... dummy’s ace. The de­fense got a trump and a heart. Down one. “I thought the man had a sin­gle­ton some­where,” South said, “but it might have been in hearts.” South rightly placed East with a dis­tri­bu­tional hand, but af­ter South wins the sec­ond di­a­mond, he could lead a heart to dummy’s king and re­turn a heart. If East could ruff, he would only be ruff­ing a loser, and if South took the ace, he could rea­son­ably place East with 2- 1- 5- 5 pat­tern. When in­stead East fol­lows to the sec­ond heart, he prob­a­bly has a sin­gle­ton spade: South can play West for Q- x- x. What if East passed at his sec­ond turn? North- South would still reach four spades. South might make it, but with no roadmap from the bid­ding, I would ex­pect him to fail.

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