Connecticut Post (Sunday)

As a passed hand

- FRANK STEWART

Today’s South opens one heart, and North, who had passed as the dealer, jumps to three clubs. How should South interpret that bid? North’s passed-hand jumpshift doesn’t mean that he miscounted his points and omitted to open the bidding. Nor does it mean that he might have opened, chose not to for reasons unknown and is trying to recover. The most logical explanatio­n is that South’s opening bid improved the North hand, and it is now worth an opening bid. North has excellent heart support and club strength. If South had rebid a discouragi­ng three hearts, North might have been discipline­d enough to pass with some hands. With his actual hand, he would have raised to four hearts. But South actually had a hand suitable for slam and leaped to six hearts. West led the ten of trumps, and South had options. He could draw trumps and try finesses in spades and diamonds, winning 12 tricks if either finesse worked. Or South could try to set up dummy’s clubs. The club play was not riskfree, but West’s passive opening lead suggested that he might hold both of the missing kings, otherwise his lead might have been a spade or a diamond. South also doubted that West had a singleton club, which he might have led. So South took the A-K of trumps and A-K of clubs and ruffed a club with the queen. He drew West’s last trump with dummy’s jack and ruffed a club. South then led the ace and queen of spades. West won and led another spade, but South ruffed in dummy, discarded his queen of diamonds on the good fifth club and claimed the slam.

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