Sherbrooke Record

A four-letter word that may work well

- By Phillip Alder

In bridge we have an unpopular four-letter word. Any guesses?

Look at the South hand in today’s diagram. In a pair event with East-west vulnerable, North opens one heart, and East passes. What should South do?

He might respond one spade. But if he writes off spades, he could bid one no-trump forcing, planning to rebid in diamonds to try to get into his longest suit. Or, if North-south like weak jump shifts, South could jump to three diamonds.

Oh, yes, another possibilit­y is today’s four-letter word: pass.

In a Bridge Base Online duplicate, 12 players bid one spade, and only four passed.

Those who bid one spade faced a second nightmare when partner rebid two clubs. Now two diamonds would have been fourth-suit game-forcing, so South was sunk ... another four-letter word!

When South passed over one heart, West balanced with one spade, and North rebid two clubs. Then East had to choose between pass and two no-trump.

At the time, each East passed, giving South a new problem. But this one was easier. Bidding two diamonds rated to work out best. South would get some trump tricks, and his partner’s high cards would still be winners.

At one of those tables, West led the club ace and shifted to his low trump. Declarer won with dummy’s jack and played the club queen, covered and ruffed. After a trump to the ace, South pitched three spades on the clubs, took the heart ace, ruffed a heart and cashed his two trump winners for two overtricks. Plus 130 was a cold top.

Pass is not a dirty word in bridge.

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