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Event

Bridge 8/10

Should you defend or declare?

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Posted: August 8, 2007 3:01 p.m.
Updated: August 24, 2007 5:00 a.m.
    Look at only the North hand. The dealer on your left opens one diamond, your partner overcalls one spade, and righty makes a negative double, showing four hearts, or maybe five if he has 6-9 points. What would you do now?
    You have a surprisingly strong hand with spade support. You can tell partner that by cue-bidding two diamonds. North, though, settled for two spades, a distinct underbid. East rebid three hearts, South was still there with four clubs, and West raised to four hearts. What would you have done at this point?
There are a lot of points in this deck. South must be bidding on a shapely two-suiter, leaving you to judge what to do over four hearts.
    At the table, North bid four spades, which East happily doubled. West led the diamond ace. When South followed suit, West should have realized that East had only three diamonds and, therefore, precisely 4-4-3-2 distribution. West should have shifted to a low heart (leading to down two), but he tried to cash the diamond king. South ruffed, played a heart to dummy's queen, and called for a spade. East won with his king and returned a heart. South played on clubs, discarding dummy's last heart on the third round to get out for down one.
    In his opponents' suits, North had eight points and eight cards. He should have doubled four hearts. Afterward, South said that he had planned to lead his singleton diamond. Declarer (East) would have lost two hearts, one diamond and two clubs to go down two. North-South would have been plus 300 instead of minus 100.
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