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Bridge 6/19

More on no-trump versus minors

    Yesterday, we started to look at how to investigate the viability of three no-trump when we have uncovered game-going values with a minor-suit, not a major-suit, fit. After you have agreed on a minor suit, bidding a new suit at the three-level shows a stopper in that suit and implies weakness in an unbid suit. Partner is being encouraged, if he knows your weak suit, to bid three no-trump with that suit covered; or to show values in another unbid suit if he is not sure of your weakness. This deal complements yesterday's because the South hands are identical.
    South opens one club. Partner responds three clubs, a limit raise indicatinging at least five-card club support, some 10-12 points (eight losers), and no four-card or longer major. South rebids three diamonds to show his stopper in that suit and to imply a major-suit weakness. And when North continues with three spades, promising values in that suit and denying anything in hearts, South knows that three no-trump is probably going down. So, not quite kicking and screaming, he takes a shot at five clubs.
    West leads the heart six. East wins with his ace and returns the heart eight, his original fourth-highest. When East's eight holds, he shifts to the diamond nine (high to deny an honor in the suit).
    South has to play the trump suit without loss. That will not be a problem if trumps are breaking 2-1, but just in case they are 3-0, declarer should start with dummy's club king. Then he can finesse East out of his queen. Note that if West had all three clubs, he must take a trick in the suit.

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