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Bridge 6/1

The first day for a real deal

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Who said this? "I'm not a real movie star. I've still got the same wife I started out with 28 years ago."
    Sadly, we know what he means. But he would make a good bridge partner — we would always know what his bids and signals meant. This deal was played by real people; it was not devised. Assess the bidding and play.
    Against three no-trump, West led the spade five: six, jack, four. East returned the spade two: nine, three, ace. South ran dummy's five diamond tricks, discarding a heart and two clubs from her hand. East pitched two hearts, and West threw the heart nine and club two. Now declarer cashed dummy's club king, then played a club to her jack. This lost to West's queen, and the defense took the rest for down two. What thinkest thou?
    First, the bidding. North might open two no-trump. That excellent five-card suit is worth an extra point, and the hand has lots of aces and kings. But after North opened one diamond, South should have responded one heart — get in those majors. Then North would have rebid two no-trump, and South would have raised to three.
    West was squeezed by dummy's diamonds. If he keeps his clubs, discarding a heart and a spade, declarer plays a club to her ace and leads a heart toward the dummy, winning when West has the ace or has come down to a singleton queen. As it actually went, South needed to guess the club position. That's what real-life bridge can be all about — one player having to guess what to do.
    The "ersatz" actor was Will Rogers.
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