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Bridge 7/6

More on advancing with a control-bid

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    In yesterday’s column, I mentioned an advance control-bid (cue-bid). One player makes a bid, usually in a new suit, that says he is raising his partner’s suit to game and that he has a fitting hand if partner is thinking about a slam. Here is another example.
    First, though, if you were South, how would you plan the play in six spades after West finds the irritating diamond lead?
    South opens with a strong two clubs. North responds two no-trump, promising a balanced hand with eight-plus points. South shows his powerful spade suit. How should North react?
    If North does not like spades, he must rebid three (or six!) no-trump. But if North has spade support, he can raise to four spades to say that his hand is a minimum. Or he can show a side-suit control, usually an ace, announcing that he has extra values. Here, North rebids four diamonds. (If he had long diamonds, he would have initially responded three diamonds, not two no-trump.) This says that he has the diamond ace (or, in a pinch, the king) and 10-plus points.
    South uses Blackwood to confirm that his partner holds the diamond ace.
In six spades, you are in the dummy for the last time. You could pitch two clubs on the other diamond winners, then lead a club, hoping to make a winning guess. But there is a better play. On the diamonds, discard not clubs but hearts! Then cash dummy’s heart honors, pitching three of your clubs into the wastepaper basket. If those tricks live, you are home free.
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