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Bridge 9/10

Tips for bidding and card-play

    The bidding in a British bridge book will usually follow the Acol system. (The "a" is pronounced as in "actor," not as in "acorn.") Julian Pottage's "Golden Rules for Rubber Bridge Players" (Cassell) is no exception.
    The book begins with 62 "rules" about bidding. Because Acol uses four-card majors and 12-14 no-trumps, some of the recommendations will not work in North America. However, you can still benefit by selecting those that apply regardless of system. Then come 59 useful tips on declarer-play and defense. The last 33 pages contain 15 snippets of advice that apply specifically to rubber bridge and 16 example deals.
    How should the bidding and play go in this deal?
    West has a textbook three-diamond opening, promising a decent seven-card suit and 5-10 high-card points.
    North has an equally automatic takeout double, showing (unless his hand is very strong) short diamonds and at least three cards in each of the other three suits.
    After East passes, South bids three spades. North should assume that South has six or seven points and rebid accordingly. Here, North passes.
    West cashes his two top diamonds, East playing first the jack then the four to show his doubleton. West shifts to the club queen.
    East is marked with the spade king. If West had that card, he would have opened one diamond, not three. So South should win with his club king, play a spade to dummy's ace, and continue with a second spade. He avoids a club ruff and takes four spades, one heart and four clubs.

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