Bridge

A MOD­ERN BID FALLS TO GOOD SIG­NAL­ING

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

Su­sanne Langer, a philoso­pher who was well known for her the­o­ries on the in­flu­ences of art on the mind, said, "A sig­nal is com­pre­hended if it serves to make us no­tice the ob­ject or sit­u­a­tion it be­speaks."

At the bridge ta­ble, a good de­fender sig­nals to his part­ner, but, ob­vi­ously, a sig­nal will only serve him well if part­ner com­pre­hends it. In to­day's deal, West leads the heart ace against four spades. What hap­pens after that?

North's three-heart ad­vance is called a "mixed raise." It showed four-card sup­port and 7-9 high-card points. It is also usu­ally made with a nineloser hand, so North's call was an over­bid be­cause he had 10 losers, given the probable use­less­ness of the heart queen after East's open­ing bid. But if North had set­tled for two spades (or a pre-emp­tive three spades, which would also have been de­bat­able with 4-3-33 distri­bu­tion), it would have ru­ined a good story.

West led the heart ace, and East sig­naled en­cour­ag­ingly with the 10. If West had started with only two hearts, East wanted his part­ner to con­tinue the suit. How­ever, West had three hearts and he knew that East's play de­nied the heart jack, be­cause East would have sig­naled with the top of his touch­ing cards. If West had led a sec­ond heart, shortly there­after de­clarer would have dis­carded a di­a­mond loser on dummy's heart queen. In­stead, West shifted to the di­a­mond eight.

South took East's jack with his ace, drew trumps end­ing in the dummy and led the heart six, but East won with his king and cashed two di­a­mond tricks to de­feat the con­tract.

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