ACES ON BRIDGE

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - COMICS & PUZZLE - BOBBY WOLFF If you would like to con­tact Bobby Wolff, email him at bob­by­wolff@mind­spring.com

If thine en­emy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in do­ing so thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

— Ro­mans 12:20

On this hand from the 1995 World Ju­nior Cham­pi­onships, the two in­struc­tive themes are that you should try to cher­ish your part­ner, and that you may be able to protect him from the con­se­quences of his er­ror if you do not al­low emo­tion to get in the way.

When West led the club eight (third-high­est from three or four cards), An­drew Moss, as East, won with his queen and had to de­cide what to do next.

He saw that if the de­fense could play three rounds of spades, it would pro­mote a trump trick for the de­fense. So Moss switched to the spade queen; when he fol­lowed up with the spade king, he made it easy for his part­ner to de­cide to over­take and play a third spade.

Ar­guably, this is no more than rou­tine good tech­nique. But what if (as hap­pened at some ta­bles) your part­ner, hav­ing over­done the Sun­day lunch, supinely plays low on the sec­ond spade?

As East, you know de­clarer has all the top red­suit cards, and that he can­not ruff any spades in dummy. Since you can see at least two club tricks for him, de­clarer must have a 4-5-2-2 shape for the play so far to make any sense. Switch back to a club now, to break up a squeeze on your part­ner in the black suits.

If you play back a di­a­mond, for ex­am­ple, de­clarer takes his seven red-suit win­ners, and the last trump forces your part­ner to con­cede. By break­ing up a squeeze on your part­ner, you should earn plenty of Brownie points.

AN­SWER: In third seat, this hand surely qual­i­fies for an open­ing bid. There are some hands where you would bid the ma­jor, plan­ning to pass the re­sponse, but here, since nei­ther a one-club nor a one-heart opener stops the op­po­nents from bid­ding spades, I would open my best suit and thus bid one club. I’d plan to re­bid one no-trump if my part­ner re­sponds one spade — this is not a hand to be ashamed of.

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