BRIDGE

The Oklahoman - - SPIRITUAL LIFE - BY PHILLIP ALDER

Althea Gib­son was the first top black ten­nis player. She won 11 grand slam ti­tles be­fore be­com­ing a golf pro­fes­sional. She ex­plained, “I al­ways wanted to be some­body. If I made it, it’s half be­cause I was game enough to take a lot of pun­ish­ment along the way and half be­cause there were a lot of peo­ple who cared enough to help me.”

At the bridge ta­ble, when you have the chance to help your part­ner de­fend cor­rectly, do not dump the ball into the net.

In this deal, West leads the club ace against four spades. What hap­pens af­ter that?

When South opened one spade, West might well have made a take­out dou­ble. North re­sponded with one forc­ing no-trump, show­ing 6-12 points and fewer than four spades. Af­ter South ad­mit­ted to a sixth spade, North jumped to game, up­grad­ing for the nine-card fit and hop­ing that his di­a­mond suit would prove use­ful.

With the club queen in the dummy, East did not need to make an at­ti­tude sig­nal. In­stead, he gave count, play­ing the seven to show an even num­ber of clubs. (Yes, he prob­a­bly should have played the nine.) Then, when West cashed the club king, it was East’s chance to help his part­ner. Since he had a heart honor and noth­ing in di­a­monds, he played the club jack, his high­est re­main­ing club be­ing a suit-pref­er­ence sig­nal for hearts, the higher-rank­ing of the other two side suits.

Now West knew it was safe to lead away from his heart king, and the con­tract failed, the de­fend­ers tak­ing two clubs, one spade and one heart.

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