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South Bids Game in Enemy Suit

Alert! Don’t miss the continent-wide “Instant Matchpoint” game on Wednesday evening, September 26. Check with your local club for participating sites. Valuable prizes will be awarded to the winners and runners up by the American Contract Bridge League, and this is a rare opportunity to win “gold points” at the local club level. All participants will receive an attractive, souvenir booklet containing analyses of all the deals by this writer.

I cannot write about the upcoming deals, so today’s deal is from last year’s event. South was surprised to hear East respond one heart to West’s opening, but he and North handled the situation with flair.

4 H S K 5
H 9 7
D 10 9 7 6 2
C A 8 6 2
Both Vul

West
1 D
Pass
All Pass


North
Pass
3 H


East
1 H
Pass


South
2 H
4 H
S A 6 2
H 10
D A K 8 5 4
C 10 9 5 3
Table S Q 9 7 4
H K 6 5 3
D Q J 3
C Q 7
Lead: D K S J 10 8 3
H A Q J 8 4 2
D
C K J 4

In the North-South methods, after two enemy suit bids, a bid in opener’s suit is a cue-bid (for takeout), but a bid in responder’s suit is natural (a real suit). Hence, two hearts showed hearts and logically a strong suit, since East was known to have at least four cards. North felt his ace and king warranted a raise to three hearts, and South was spurred by the diamond void to continue to game. Bold bidding? Certainly, but also well-reasoned.

West led the diamond king. Declarer decided his best chance for 10 tricks was to win six trumps in hand (by ruffing if necessary), two top clubs, the spade king and a spade ruff in dummy. Accordingly, he ruffed the opening lead and led a spade to the king (West figured to have the ace for his opening bid).

Declarer ruffed a second diamond, then he led the spade jack to West’s ace. West returned a trump (as good as anything) which rode to South’s jack. Next came a spade ruff; diamond ruff; club king; club ace; and yet another diamond ruff to ice the contract. Note that declarer did not require the favorable club layout; he would succeed even if West held the guarded queen.

Well played. Also credit East for respecting South’s ability and not doubling.

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© 9-23-1990 Richard Pavlicek