The Times-Tribune - - Business - BY PHILLIP ALDER

Amy Low­ell, a poet who died in 1925, said, “In sci­ence, read by pref­er­ence the new­est works. In lit­er­a­ture, read the old­est. The clas­sics are al­ways mod­ern.”

That sounds rea­son­able. At the bridge ta­ble, we have a pref­er­ence that comes up in this deal. First, though, look at the East hand. What should he bid af­ter South opens one spade, West passes, and North re­sponds three no-trump to show 4-3-3-3 dis­tri­bu­tion, three spades and 15-17 high­card points? Then, where does the pref­er­ence oc­cur?

North’s three-no-trump re­sponse is an un­usual agree­ment these days, but was text­book 50 years ago. (Nowa­days, North would prob­a­bly re­spond two clubs, which would leave East in a quandary. He might make a three di­a­mond weak jump over­call.)

Over three no-trump, East should in­ter­vene with four notrump, show­ing at least 5-5 in the mi­nors. South would prob­a­bly dou­ble be­cause his hand does not sug­gest a slam in spades. West will run to five clubs, and North will dou­ble.

Against five clubs dou­bled, North might lead the ace and an­other club, which would re­sult in down one. Bet­ter here would be the club-two lead. If de­clarer mis­guesses, he goes down two (or three if South shifts to a low spade at trick two).

How­ever, sup­pose North re­bids five spades. Then West will lead his sin­gle­ton di­a­mond. East wins with the ace and re­turns the di­a­mond 10, his high­est-re­main­ing di­a­mond, as a suit-pref­er­ence sig­nal for the higher-rank­ing of the other two side suits (hearts and clubs). West ruffs and gives his part­ner a heart ruff to de­feat the contract.

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