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Bridge 10/24

Are you weak, middling or strong?

    We have been looking at advance control-bids (cue-bids), which allow one player to show a very suitable hand for play in partner's suit. Today's deal gives another example of this theme.
    Look at only the North hand. Partner opens one spade; you respond one no-trump, showing 6-10 points with fewer than three spades; and he rebids three hearts, which is natural and game-forcing. What would you do now?
    Is your hand lousy, middling, good or great, given that you responded one no-trump?
    It is terrific. You have a maximum with five-card heart support. You must not content yourself with a raise to four hearts, which you would bid without, say, the heart king. You must make an advance control-bid (cue-bid) of four clubs. (If you have a weak hand with lots of clubs, rebid either three no-trump or five clubs.)
    Your four-club bid is just what partner wanted to hear, looking at his two club losers. He uses Blackwood, then jumps to six hearts.
    West leads the club queen, and East signals enthusiastically with the nine. How should South plan the play?
    After winning with dummy's club ace, declarer must shed the club loser from either dummy or his hand. He unblocks his ace-king of diamonds, then starts on the spades. When West ruffs the third round low, dummy overruffs and leads the diamond queen. Curses! East ruffs. So South overruffs and plays another spade. This time luck is in — West has to ruff with the heart ace and dummy's club loser can be discarded.

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