Cape Times

FRANK STEWART BRIDGE

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CLEAR CONSCIENCE

Cy the Cynic says that a clear conscience is a sign of a poor memory. But if a defender can’t recall the bidding and do some counting, he will let beatable contracts slip through. Today’s West led the deuce of hearts against 3NT, and East put up his king. South won and led the jack of diamonds: eight, seven, king. East then led a second heart — and South had three heart tricks, three diamonds and three spades.

Four Spades

East’s defense was thoughtles­s — and countless. West’s deuce indicates four cards in hearts, so South has four. But if West had five spades, he would have led that suit, so South also has four spades. South opened one diamond and probably has at least four (and West’s “count” signal with the eight on the first diamond confirms this). So South has at most one club.

East will have a clear conscience if at Trick Three he leads the deuce of clubs. To lead an honor would cost. When West captures South’s king and returns a club, the defense has five tricks.

Daily Question

You hold: ♠ K Q 9 7 ♥ A Q J 6 ♦ J 10 9 3 ♣ K. You open one diamond, your partner bids one spade, you raise to three spades and he bids four diamonds. What do you say?

Answer: If partner were content to play at four spades, he would have bid it. His four diamonds is an ace-showing cue bid to suggest slam. Some experts would feel obliged to cue-bid four hearts, but the diamonds are poor and the king of clubs may be wasted. I would sign off at four spades. South dealer

N-S vulnerable

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