Los Angeles Times - - COMICS - By Frank Ste­wart

“My part­ner and I ar­gued about our auc­tion in this deal,” a club player told me. “I was South, and when he jumped to four hearts, I used Black­wood and bid six.

“West led the king of spades, and dummy was a let­down. I took the ace, drew trumps, cashed the A-K of clubs and ruffed a club. The queen didn’t fall, so I lost two spades. Didn’t part­ner’s bid­ding prom­ise more strength than he had?”

Af­ter West’s pre­empt, North must stretch to show heart sup­port; he might bid three hearts to com­pete with only a bit of ex­tra strength. The jump to four hearts showed ex­tras but not 20 points. If North had that much strength plus a heart fit, he could cue-bid three spades.

Six hearts was cold. Af­ter South draws trumps, he takes the ace of di­a­monds, ruffs a di­a­mond, cashes the A-K of clubs and ruffs a club. He then leads a trump to dummy and re­turns the jack of clubs, pitch­ing a spade — a loser on a loser. East must con­cede a ruff-sluff. This week: loser on loser.

Ques­tion: You hold: ♠ 97 3 ♥A Q 9 6 ♦ A 7 ♣ A K J 2. The dealer, at your right, opens one di­a­mond. You dou­ble, and your part­ner re­sponds one spade. What do you say?

An­swer: You have enough ex­tra strength to bid again, but no bid is ideal. You can’t raise the spades (part­ner may have a ragged four­card suit), and you have no long suit of your own. Bid 1NT, hop­ing he will show an- other suit, re­bid a long spade suit or pass when 1NT is playable.

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