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Bridge 9/5

Count suit lengths r empty spaces

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Posted: September 4, 2007 5:05 p.m.
Updated: September 19, 2007 5:00 a.m.
    On Monday, I noted that if you enter the auction after an opponent has opened with a pre-empt, you assume your partner has six or seven high-card points. (If he does not, get a new partner, one who holds better cards!) Yesterday, I mentioned that you do not pre-empt against a pre-empt. This deal illustrates both tenets.
    After East began with a weak two-bid in diamonds, South jumped to four spades, placing his partner with a few morsels. Since a three-spade single jump overcall would have shown some 14-16 high-card points, this double jump indicated an even stronger hand. (Yes, maybe West should have bid five diamonds — especially as the contract should be made. Even if East loses a trump trick, he can set up West's hearts for a spade discard.)
    West led the diamond two, bottom from three low cards since he had not supported his partner's suit. East won with his ace and shifted to the club jack. The defense took two tricks in the suit and played a third round, South ruffing. How did declarer continue from there?
    After drawing trumps, South had to find the heart queen. There were two ways of doing this, both highly likely to work.
    The less reliable method was to assume that because an opponent had pre-empted, his partner would have the key missing high card.
    The better method was to count out East's hand. He was known to have two spades, six diamonds and at least three clubs. Therefore he had at most two hearts, and West had at least five hearts. So the odds favored West's having the heart queen.
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