The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - by Phillip Alder


Two-over-one books con­tinue to ap­pear. An­other pub­lished this year is “Play­ing 2/1 -- the Rest of the Story” by Paul Thurston. This is a se­quel to “25 Steps to Learn­ing 2/1,” which came out in 2002 (both Master Point Press). The new book cov­ers some fresh ground and ex­pands on other parts. Note that Thurston does not like trans­fer bids, ar­gu­ing in fa­vor of two-way Stay­man (where both two clubs and two di­a­monds are Stay­man, and two di­a­monds guar­an­tees at least game-forc­ing val­ues). He gives three deals from tour­na­ments to sup­port his ar­gu­ment, to­day’s lay­out from the 2013 Cana­dian Na­tional Teams Championship be­ing one of them. What should West lead against two spades? At the other ta­ble, South re­sponded two hearts, a trans­fer. North’s two-spade re­bid was passed out. East un­der­stand­ably chose the heart 10 as his open­ing lead. Thurston says that this de­feats the con­tract, and that de­clarer went down two. Well, that is not right if de­clarer guesses about the bad trump break when West takes the sec­ond trick with his spade ace, and the de­fend­ers con­tinue hearts to make South ruff. But why should he? At Thurston’s ta­ble, West led the di­a­mond jack: queen, king, two. East re­turned a di­a­mond, and de­clarer just drove out the spade ace to get home. When you have four trumps, it is usu­ally bet­ter to try to make the long-trump hand ruff, not aim for a ruff your­self. West should have led the heart two. Why are there so many twoover-one books? Be­cause it is the sys­tem of choice th­ese days and is harder to use than Stan­dard Amer­i­can.

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