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Bridge 6/13

Does it bid or play itself?

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    Some hands bid themselves — it is clear-cut what to do, and you reach the best final contract with a minimum of effort. Some contracts play themselves, requiring little more than drawing trumps.
    At first glance, this deal has both elements, but there is a trap for the unwary. First, though, look only at the North hand. Partner opens one no-trump, showing 15-17 points. How would you plan the auction?
    Once you have decided, move into South's chair. You are in seven diamonds. How would you play after West leads the spade king?
    North's hand is not about high-card points; it is about possible losers. You should realize that you care only about partner's ace-count. Jump to four clubs, Gerber. If South replies four hearts, saying that he has only one ace, you will sign off in four no-trump and hope for the best. If he shows two aces (four spades), you will bid five diamonds. If he has three aces (four no-trump), you will try six diamonds. And when he admits to all four aces by bidding four diamonds (he cannot have zero aces), you jump majestically to seven diamonds.
    There are 13 tricks: one spade, one heart, seven diamonds, three clubs and a club ruff in the South hand (the shorter trump hand). And if trumps split 2-1, you can claim. But draw that first round of diamonds using an honor in the dummy. When you see the 3-0 break, lead a club to your ace, play a club to dummy's king, and ruff the club 10 with your diamond ace so that West cannot overruff. Then draw trumps and claim.
    Nicely bid and played!
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