Sail­ing close to the gusty wind

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - CLASSIFIED­S - By Phillip Alder

Ag­gres­sive com­pet­i­tive bid­ding is a three-edged sword. It may push your op­po­nents over­board. Or it may blow them into a lu­cra­tive con­tract they weren’t go­ing to reach if left unim­peded. Or the informatio­n you give to the de­clarer may al­low him to find a safe route into har­bor. If you had passed through­out, he would have run aground.

An old-fash­ioned player opens the West hand with two di­a­monds, a weak two-bid. But a mod­ern glad­i­a­tor, think­ing that is wimp­ish, starts with a three-bid.

Af­ter North’s take­out dou­ble and East’s raise to five di­a­monds, South, un­der pres­sure, com­peted with five hearts. North could hardly do less than raise to six.

De­clarer ruffed the open­ing di­a­mond lead on the board, drew trumps and ruffed his last di­a­mond. Next, he cashed dummy’s top clubs, dis­card­ing a spade from hand, and led the last club. If East had fol­lowed, South would have dis­carded an­other spade to leave East end­played. In­stead, de­clarer ruffed the club three.

With­out any in­ter­ven­ing bid­ding, de­clarer would have cashed the spade ace and played a spade to­ward dummy’s queen. How­ever, that tack couldn’t work here. West was known to have started with two hearts, four clubs and at least six di­a­monds. He had at most one spade.

In­stead, South led a low spade from hand and also played low from the board. De­clarer knew that the de­fender who won the trick would be end­played. West would have to con­cede a ruff-and-sluff. East would have to do like­wise or lead away from the spade king.

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