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Bridge 3/13

A cautious pass gives a bad result

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Posted: March 12, 2007 5:58 p.m.
Updated: March 27, 2007 5:00 a.m.
First, look at the West hand. East opens one heart and South makes a two-spade weak jump overcall. Should West pass, or raise to three hearts?
    When West passed, North happily raised to four spades. He was not confident that the contract would make, but he wanted to take bidding space away from the opponents.
    Against four spades, West led the heart king, continued with the heart queen, and shifted to the club jack. South, confident that East held the diamond ace, won in his hand with the club ace, drew trumps ending in his hand, and led his diamond, playing low from the board. East won with his jack and returned a club, but declarer won on the board, ruffed a diamond in his hand, trumped a heart on the board, and ruffed another diamond, bringing down the ace.
    Back to dummy with a trump, South discarded his club loser on the diamond king and claimed.
The basic rule is that you may bid one level higher after an opponent's weak jump overcall. If South had passed, West would have raised one heart to two hearts, so now he may bid three hearts. (With a normal limit raise in hearts, unless using cue-bid raises, West jumps to game, and with a game-forcing raise, he cue-bids the overcaller's suit, here responding three spades.)
    Note that four hearts can be made if East establishes the club suit quickly enough. After ruffing the second spade, he may draw one round of trumps, but he must then attack clubs to win 10 tricks.
    Far more points are lost with cautious passes than with aggressive calls.
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