BRIDGE

The Mercury News Weekend - - MOVIE GUIDE - Frank Ste­wart

Fri­day, June 8

Many pairs treat a 2NT re­sponse to a ma­jor-suit open­ing bid as an ar­ti­fi­cial forc­ing raise, so to­day’s North had to tem­po­rize with a two-club re­sponse. (In my view, a nat­u­ral, forc­ing 2NT is too valu­able to give up.)

South’s leap to six spades was spec­u­la­tive, but he found the right cards in dummy and han­dled the play well. He took the ace of di­a­monds and set out to get a count of the de­fend­ers’ dis­tri­bu­tion: He ruffed a di­a­mond, led a trump to dummy, ruffed a di­a­mond and drew trumps with the ace and jack.

De­clarer next let the queen of hearts ride. West won and re­turned a heart, and South took the jack and ace.

When East dis­carded, de­clarer had the in­for­ma­tion he needed. He knew West had held three spades, five hearts and at least four di­a­monds (West had oblig­ingly kept his queen), so one club at most. So South led a club to the king and con­fi­dently re­turned a club to his 10.

“Count­ing the hand” is a sim­ple process. It takes fo­cus and prac­tice, but any­one can do it.

DAILY QUES­TION:

You hold: QJ7 Q 10 3 A 10 7 K J 9 4. Your part­ner opens one di­a­mond. The next player passes. What do you say?

AN­SWER:

Over a mi­nor-suit open­ing bid, most pairs treat a 2NT re­sponse as nat­u­ral and game-forc­ing. If that is your agree­ment, bid 2NT. Some pairs use the bid as in­vi­ta­tional, show­ing about 11 points. I dis­like that treat­ment and avoid it be­cause a con­tin­u­a­tion of the auc­tion is of­ten un­de­fined and awk­ward.

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