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Friends to Follow

Bridge 10/28

Do you have the right card?

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    The contract is, say, four spades. Partner leads the heart ace and you wish to encourage him to continue hearts. Then, assuming you use normal signals, you hope to have a high heart. If you have Q-9-2, you are laughing, playing the nine. But if you have Q-3-2, you have to play the three and hope for the best. Partner will notice that the two is missing, but he might think declarer is hiding that card. When you do not have the necessary card, life can be tough.
    In today's deal, West had the ideal card and could make his partner's life easy.
    If you open a 6-4 hand with six in a major and four in a minor, it is normal to rebid in the major with a minimum opening bid, but to bid major-minor-major with extra values.
    Here, South should have rebid three diamonds, which would have led to a final contract of five diamonds, which is unbeatable. (Six diamonds can be made unless the defense cashes a spade and shifts to a trump.)
    Against three no-trump, West led the club eight, top of nothing. Declarer overtook dummy's jack with his king and played a heart to dummy's nine. East won with his queen and returned a club to remove dummy's entry. Now came the heart ace, then the heart jack to East's king, South pitching a diamond and a spade. What did West discard?
    West threw the diamond four, his lowest card to discourage in that suit. Now East knew that declarer had a dummy entry in diamonds. So East shifted to the spade queen (in case West had A-10-x). The defenders took three spades for down one.
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