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Bridge 12/05

The learners will not be dummies

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Do you have a friend who would like to learn bridge? Or someone who knows the very basic elements but little else? If so, get her or him "Bridge for Dummies" by Eddie Kantar (Wiley Publishing). It has been republished in an improved version with, thankfully, hand diagrams that look like those in newspapers and magazines. Kantar writes with a humorous pen. And the bidding is up-to-date with 15-17 no-trumps, weak two-bids and limit raises.
    This deal is in the defense section. How should East and West card to beat four hearts?
    No auction is given in the book, because this sequence is much too advanced for beginners. Over West's takeout double, North's jump to three hearts is pre-emptive, showing four-card support (bid to the nine-trick level with nine combined trumps) and nine losers (fewer than 10 support points). South goes on to game more in hope than expectation because he has so many points.
    Under the spade ace, East plays his four, the lowest card being discouraging in the suit. West, now knowing that his partner does not have the queen (he would have played his highest spot card) or a doubleton (he would have played high-low), shifts to the club queen.
    This top-of-touching-honors lead marks South with the club king. So East wins with his ace and returns the spade nine (the higher of two remaining cards), giving the defenders four tricks: three spades and one club.
    The book, autographed upon request, costs $19.00 postpaid from Kantar at 2700 Neilson Way, Apt. 334, Santa Monica, CA 90405.
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