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Bridge 4/21

You give preference when he has length

For the last statement this week about one-club openings, we come to the one that will be right more often than the others: "I couldn't give preference to partner's minor with only three-card support."
    In this deal, after opener's one-spade rebid, the responder has no rebid that would warm the cockles of his heart. He cannot pass with only two spades, leaving his side in a 4-2 fit. And to bid one no-trump with three low diamonds, the unbid suit, would not bring a gleam to his grandmother's eye. That just leaves two clubs.
    This choice is easier for me because I like to rebid in no-trump as quickly as possible with a balanced hand. I prefer to name two suits only with an unbalanced collection. Yes, this requires using a checkback procedure like New Minor Forcing, but responder always knows opener's hand-type.
    When North supports hearts, making a third bid opposite a hand with 6-9 high-card points, he is showing in principle 4-3-1-5 distribution and 15-17 points. Then South, with five trumps and two aces, has enough to jump to four hearts.
    West leads the diamond king (luckily for South, not the heart jack), won with dummy's ace.
Declarer can get home in two ways. He can play off four rounds of spades, discarding diamonds from his hand. Or he can cross to his hand in both spades and clubs to ruff his two diamond losers on the board before leading dummy's heart king. In either case, the defense gets only three trump tricks.

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