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Play Bridge: Two clubs over one diamond

Tips and tricks for bridge players new and experienced.

The bidding: North, with his 13 points and no five card major, opens his better (longer) minor, Diamonds. East passes, quite dismayed with his zero points, and unappreciative of his only honour, the Spade Ten, a winner if declarer plays Spades poorly. South has an opening hand and gives partner a game-forcing bid of Two Clubs.

South bypasses his four card major only because his Clubs are longer. One should always bid one’s hand naturally and need not rush to make a game forcing bid.

West, with a very good opening hand, has a break in tempo before making a wise pass. If the opponents are in a game forcing auction, East must be bust, and any bid by West besides pass would be a card player’s suicide.

North’s rebid would be Two No Trump but because he does not have a Spade stopper, he bids Two Hearts, which is strictly speaking a reverse. Some partnerships may agree that reverses by opener show extra values even in a two-over-one auction, but I play that reverses are only extra values if partner’s hand could be six points.

South bids his four-card major that he bypasses, and North raises promising four Spades. South then bids game.

The Play: West has no obvious good lead. Since dummy likely has AQ of diamonds and declarer, AQ of clubs, he leads the Diamond Jack, top of an interior sequence. Opening leads from a tenace holding (broken or nontouching honours) are very rare against a trump contract.

Declarer, without any second thought, plays the Ace and plays the Spade Nine from dummy. East ducks smoothly because that is what he decided to do when dummy was first tabled. Declarer lets it ride, and it loses to the Queen. West looks at dummy and sees that a Heart is a safe exit. Declarer wins the ace and plays a small Spade to the Eight.

West wins the Ace and exits another Heart. The Spade play by South is excellent and not only is the best way to play the suit but it also protects against four Spades held by East.

Declarer wins the Heart Queen and draws the last trump. He then does a ruffing finesse in Clubs because of the singleton in dummy and the possession of the Queen and Jack. He cashes the Ace and puts the Queen on the table.

If West covers, declarer ruffs, and now the rest of his Clubs are good. If West does not cover as he should not, declarer will pitch a Diamond from dummy and repeat with the Club Jack. Declarer will lose only two tricks for +450.

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