Bridge

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - by Phillip Alder

CLEVER BID­DING AND CLEV­ERER DE­FENSE

Al­bert Ein­stein said, “A clever per­son solves a prob­lem. A wise per­son avoids it.” Pre­sum­ably the wise per­son has the an­swer be­fore the prob­lem oc­curs.

Clever peo­ple tend to play bridge bet­ter than the less-clever -- but not al­ways. One of the weak­est play­ers I ever saw got a first-class hon­ors de­gree and went on to gain a Ph.D.

It is al­ways fun to find a clever piece of de­clarer-play or de­fense. What can East-West do that qual­i­fies in this deal, where South is in three spades?

The bid­ding fea­tured two rel­a­tively mod­ern con­ven­tions. First, West made a Snap­dragon Dou­ble, which showed length (five or six cards) in the un­bid suit (clubs) and tol­er­ance for part­ner’s suit (typ­i­cally honor dou­ble­ton; but maybe three low if the dou­bler’s suit is par­tic­u­larly strong; or at a real pinch, even a low dou­ble­ton). North’s spade raise guar­an­teed four-card sup­port, be­cause with only three spades he would have made a Sup­port Re­dou­ble.

When East com­peted with three clubs, South bid three spades be­cause he knew his side had a nine-card fit.

At first glance, South will lose only two hearts and two clubs. But the de­fend­ers have an ex­tra trick up their sleeves. West leads the club ace. Since the queen is on the board, East sig­nals count, play­ing the eight, start­ing a high­low (echo) with an even num­ber. West cashes the club king, then shifts to the heart queen, East en­cour­ag­ing with his seven. East takes the sec­ond heart and re­turns a low heart. When West ruffs with the spade jack, the up­per­cut pro­motes a trump trick for East.

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