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Bridge 9/26

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    Yesterday we looked at how a passed hand replies to a takeout double. But when the dealer opens one of a suit and two passes follow, the fourth hand is said to be in the balancing position because if he passes, the auction ends. And if he has a weak hand, he knows that his partner must have points. So the fourth hand may act with less than normal, doubling with only seven or eight points. To compensate, the advancer (doubler's partner) adds two points to the ranges of his bids. A simple suit bid shows 0-10 points, a single jump in a suit promises 11-13, and a cue-bid indicates 14-plus (not that this call happens often).
    In today's deal, North, with 10 working points, is nearly worth a jump to two spades, but he has 4-3-3-3 distribution. However, when South rebids one no-trump to show a good 15 to an average 18 points, North jumps to three no-trump. (A one-no-trump overcall in the balancing seat shows only 11-14 points.)
    After West leads the diamond queen, South sees six top tricks: two hearts, two diamonds and two clubs. If he immediately concedes a club trick, West would clear diamonds and defeat the contract when in with the spade ace.
    As West is marked with the spade ace from his opening bid, at trick two declarer should play a low spade — not the queen — from his hand. If West goes in with the ace, declarer has nine tricks via three spades, two hearts, two diamonds and two clubs. If West ducks, declarer wins on the board and plays on clubs to take one spade, two hearts, two diamonds and four clubs.

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