Baltimore Sun

Bridge Play

- Frank Stewart

Cy the Cynic defines gross incompeten­ce as 144 times worse than ordinary incompeten­ce. You might think a declarer would adopt a play with a 75 percent chance of success, not one that is 50-50.

North’s bid of 2NT was an artificial forcing spade raise; South’s three hearts showed a singleton. When North bid

four spades next, South settled for a small slam.

South won the first diamond with the ace, drew trumps and needed a way to dispose of his diamond loser. He tried a heart to dummy’s queen, but when East took the king, South was doomed to fail.

TWO CHANCES

South’s play was grossly inadequate. He gave himself one chance when two were available. After South draws trumps, he leads a club from his hand. When West has the king, South can later cash the queen and pitch a diamond from dummy on the ace.

If East had the king of clubs, South could finesse in hearts. He might go down two but should be willing to invest 100 points to get the maximum chance at a vulnerable slam.

DAILY QUESTION

You hold: ♠ KQ75 ♥ AQ84 ♦ 843 ♣ Q 2. Your partner opens one club, you bid one heart and he rebids two clubs. What do you say?

ANSWER: This situation is awkward. You might blast into 3NT, hoping a spade will be led; if instead a diamond is led, maybe you won’t be down immediatel­y. An option is to bid two spades. If partner bids 2NT next, raise to 3NT. If he rebids three clubs, pass or try four clubs. If he goes to three hearts, head for the bar.

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