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Bridge 7/2

The weird world of real-life bridge

    Mark Twain said: "Why shouldn't truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction, after all, has to make sense."
    Yes! In the bridge classroom the fictional deals are sane, although the results are sometimes less so. But when you get to real deals at a tournament, weird things happen.
    This deal occurred during a team match in England. Look at the East hand. Your partner opens one heart. After a pass on your right, would you pass or respond one spade?
    East passed over one heart, which is bizarre. True, bidding might work out badly, but to pass with 6-6 distribution does not feel right. You could go down in one heart and be laydown for game (or slam!) in spades or diamonds - the situation for East-West here. One heart would go down three or four, and five spades and five diamonds are laydown (unbeatable).
    South should have passed out one heart. Where were all the spades?
    When South balanced with two clubs and North raised very cautiously to three clubs, East should have cue-bid four clubs to show his two-suiter, but perhaps afraid of a misunderstanding, he selected three diamonds — wrong!
    Against five clubs, West led the spade ace and East played a discouraging two. West, though, not expecting his partner to have six spades, tried to cash the spade king. South ruffed, knocked out the club ace, and claimed.
    East should have signaled with the spade jack at trick one. This unusually high card would have screamed for a shift to the higher-ranking side suit, hearts.
    Tune in tomorrow for the action at the other table.

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