Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST / TELEVISION - If you would like to con­tact Bobby Wolff, email him at bob­by­wolff@mind­

In­struct them how the mind of man be­comes A thou­sand times more beau­ti­ful than the earth On which he dwells. — William Wordsworth

In to­day’s deal, West has a full range open­ing bid with a chunky five-card ma­jor. When East raises one heart to two, South must come in now. This is a safe spot to over­call. With some­thing close to an open­ing bid, plus a six-card suit, you have a lit­tle in hand for act­ing, es­pe­cially when the op­po­nents have found a fit.

North must now sup­port spades. A few wild op­ti­mists might raise to game; but the cue-bid raise is a slightly more pru­dent ac­tion. It asks South if he has any ex­tras; if not, as here, South can sign off in three spades. At this point, North should trust his part­ner and pass. Will he be jus­ti­fied in his cau­tion? Watch this space.

Against three spades, West will lead the heart king and fol­low up with the ace. But what should he do next? If he plays a spade, di­a­mond or heart, de­clarer wraps up nine tricks. And a club … holds de­clarer to eight tricks. What is more, if West trusts East, he should know to play a club. Why? Be­cause of the heart spots East fol­lows with on the first two tricks, the sec­ond of which should be sig­nif­i­cant.

Specif­i­cally, East’s heart at trick two should be suit pref­er­ence. If West thinks about his part­ner’s small hearts, he will read the first one as at­ti­tude, but at trick two, the size of the “ir­rel­e­vant” small heart should be suit pref­er­ence. When West sees his part­ner fol­low with the small­est heart, he should shift to clubs and de­feat the con­tract.

AN­SWER: Fac­ing a bal­anc­ing dou­ble, you are well within the range for the re­sponse of one no-trump. You ex­pect part­ner to move on with a bal­anced hand and ex­tras, or to de­scribe his hand by bid­ding his long suit if he has ex­tra shape. Fail­ing that, one no-trump looks as good a place to play as any.


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