Los Angeles Times - - COMICS - By Frank Ste­wart

“Shadwell hated all South­ern­ers and, by in­fer­ence, was stand­ing at the North Pole.” — Terry Pratch­ett, “Good Omens”

Some in­fer­ences are clear in bridge; oth­ers are sub­tle. In to­day’s deal, South took the ace of di­a­monds and led a club. West played low. Should South play the king or jack from dummy? Are any in­fer­ences avail­able?

South chose the jack. He thought West might have grabbed the ace if he had it (a shaky as­sump­tion). East took the queen, cashed his high hearts and led a club to West’s ace. Down one.

South missed a sub­tle in­fer­ence. Part of the time, East would hold the A-K of hearts. Then he couldn’t have the ace of clubs, else he would have opened the bid­ding in third po­si­tion.

South’s per­cent­age play was the king of clubs. East wins the next club with the queen and may take his A-K of hearts, let­ting de­clarer claim. Even if East ex­its with a di­a­mond, South has the en­tries to set up and cash dummy’s fifth club for his 10th trick.

Ques­tion: You hold ♠ 97 3 ♥ AK102 ♦ 7532 ♣ Q 7. Your part­ner opens one di­a­mond, you re­spond one heart, he bids two clubs and you re­turn to two di­a­monds. Part­ner then bids two hearts. What do you say?

An­swer: Your pref­er­ence bid of two di­a­monds was timid. Your hand was worth a game-in­vi­ta­tional jump to three di­a­monds. Since part­ner has bid again, you must make sure of reach­ing game. Bid five di­a­monds.

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