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Bridge 4/20

You must raise when you have to raise

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Posted: April 19, 2007 5:45 p.m.
Updated: May 4, 2007 5:00 a.m.
We are looking at the misconceptions about one-club opening bids. Here is another comment that is almost always incorrect: "I couldn't raise with only four-card support in case partner had a short minor."
    In this deal, how should South get on in three clubs, and how would West do in three hearts?
    If West had passed over South's one-club opening, it would still be sensible for North to respond two clubs. But after the one-heart overcall, it is automatic to bid two clubs. And when East raises hearts, South competes with three clubs because he knows of at least a nine-card fit — in a partscore battle, bid to the nine-trick level with nine trumps.
    West is tempted to bid three hearts, but he knows of only eight combined hearts, and the vulnerability is unfavorable. Note that best defense beats three hearts by two tricks. Suppose North leads a club. Declarer (West) wins on the board and perhaps ruffs a club in his hand to try a diamond to the queen. South takes dummy's queen with his king and plays three rounds of trumps, North discarding the club king. Declarer attacks spades, but North holds up his ace until the third round (South plays high-low with his doubleton), and West loses two more diamond tricks.
    In three clubs, South wins 10 tricks by playing East for the diamond queen. South concedes one spade, one diamond and one club.
    Finally, remember that you open one diamond when holding three diamonds only if you have exactly 4-4-3-2 distribution: two four-card majors and a doubleton club.
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