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Bridge: Aug. 16, 2023

Bridge: Aug. 16, 2023

“Are they really `bad’ habits if you enjoy indulging in them?” — graffiti.

Declarer couldn’t have enjoyed the result in today’s deal. North-South bid easily to slam, stopping at the six level when North could show only one ace in response to South’s 4NT Blackwood inquiry. West led the nine of clubs, and South won in dummy and promptly led a trump. East took his ace and even more promptly returned a club, and West ruffed for down one.

South grumbled about his misfortune, but a lot of players have the habits (all bad) of (1) playing too fast; (2) drawing trumps too soon and (3) failing to anticipate trouble.

CONCERN

Since only a club ruff can defeat the slam, and since West’s lead red-flags that possibility, South should lead a spade to his ace at Trick Two, then take the ace of diamonds and ruff his low diamond in dummy.

South next takes the king of spades to discard his last low club. Having eliminated the danger of the club ruff, he can safely start the trumps.

DAILY QUESTION

You hold: S K 5 4 H Q 9 8 6 D 6 C A K Q J 5. Your partner deals and opens one heart, and the next player passes. What do you say?

ANSWER: Slam is likely. To let partner know, jump to three clubs and support hearts next, saying that your jump-shift was based on a strong hand with heart support. Partner can cooperate. Some pairs use “weak jump-shifts.” At IMPs or Chicago scoring, where accurate game and slam bidding is vital, I prefer strong jump-shifts.

North dealer

N-S vulnerable

NORTH

S K 5 4

H Q 9 8 6

D 6

C A K Q J 5

WEST

S Q 7 6 3 2

H 5 4 2

D 8 7 5 3

C 9

EAST

S J 10 9 8

H A

D 10 9 4

C 10 8 7 6 3

SOUTH

S A

H K J 10 7 3

D A K Q J 2

C 4 2

North East South West
1 C Pass 1 H Pass
3 H Pass 4 NT Pass
5 D Pass 6 H All Pass
Opening lead — C 9

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