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Bridge 1/30

Every convention has its moment

One of my least favorite conventions is the Unusual No-Trump. After an opening bid of one of a suit on your right, a jump overcall of two no-trump shows at least 5-5 in the two lowest unbid suits. It works fine when your side wins the auction. Far too often, though, the opponents outbid you. Then, because you have painted a perfect picture of your hand, their declarer plays as if you have glass cards.
    But having said that, this convention does enjoy an occasional moment in the sun — as in this deal played during a social game in Florida.
    East, trading heavily on the favorable vulnerability, brought the Unusual No-Trump out of his bag. After South responded three spades, West might have jumped to five diamonds to put pressure onto the opponents. If he had, North should double, and the contract would probably go down two. But bidding only four diamonds worked well when the opponents rested in four spades.
    It was easy for West to lead the club king, East signaling enthusiastically with his jack. East won the second trick with his club ace, then returned the club seven, his lowest card being a suit-preference signal for diamonds. (With a void in hearts, he would have led the club 10.) So West, after ruffing the third club, shifted to his diamond king. Declarer won with the ace on the board, cashed the spade king, and tried to take the two top hearts to discard his diamond losers, but East trumped the second heart, and the contract had to finish down one — how Unusual!

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