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Bridge 4/6

Four card support, delay a raise

The opener bids one heart or one spade. When responder has at least four-card support for his partner's major, he normally immediately announces his excellent support. But with the right hand, he should adopt a two-step process, first making a strong jump-shift. This shows some 13-16 high-card points with either an excellent one-suiter (a six-card or longer suit headed by at least the K-Q-J), or a prime two-suiter (in principle, five-plus cards in his suit and four-plus cards in opener's suit).
    With the one-suiter, the responder rebids in his suit or in no-trump. With the two-suiter, he supports his partner's suit on the second round — as in this auction.
    Although most pairs would stop in six spades, seven is a good contract. It needs diamonds 3-3, or diamonds 4-2 and East to have the heart king, or East to have the K-J of hearts. That's about a 67.6 percent chance.
    Here, though, you are in six spades, not seven. West leads a trump (not his singleton when partner cannot have an ace). You draw trumps, then you try the diamonds, getting the bad news. Suddenly it looks as though the contract depends on one out of two heart finesses. But whenever you face this position, attempt an endplay. After the last diamond honor (on which you shed the heart two), play a club to your ace and ruff the club three in the dummy. Finally, play a heart to your 10 or queen. Although the finesse loses, West is trapped. He must either return a heart into your tenace or concede a ruff-and-sluff.

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