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Bridge 10/26

Get that long suit established at once

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    Novelist and poet Judith Viorst wrote, "Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands — and then eat just one of the pieces."
    A bridge hand is strong if it has four-card support for partner's major suit and a six- or seven-bagger on the side as a sweet source of tricks.
    What do you think of the auction and opening lead? How should declarer play in four hearts after West leads the diamond five?
    Many tournament players sitting East would make a takeout double over one diamond. This is theoretically unsound, but here would get West to bid four spades, which is down one, a good sacrifice against a making four hearts. (Yes, four hearts is defeated if West leads a club, but that is difficult — impossible? — to find.)
    After South responded one heart, West followed the "bid spades at all costs" policy a little far.
    Now North had two rebid choices: four clubs (a splinter bid), or four diamonds, which would describe 4-6 or 4-7 in hearts and diamonds. Because the diamonds were not that strong, North showed his club shortage. East strangely did not bid four spades.
    I do not like to lead the first suit bid by the dummy. I would have led a spade (not that it beats the contract if declarer works out what to do). After the diamond lead, declarer won with dummy's ace and led another diamond, East winning and shifting to a club. South ruffed on the board, trumped a diamond high in his hand, drew trumps ending on the board, and ran the diamonds.
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