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Bridge 5/30
The bidding says they're not losers
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    William Shakespeare wrote in one of his sonnets: "But if the while I think on thee, dear friend, / All losses are restor'd and sorrows end."
    In bridge, if you hold your losses to the number of tricks permitted, all sorrows will end for your dear friend, your partner, and for you.
    This week we have been considering how the auction can affect the valuation of a hand. Here is another example. You are South. You open one heart, your left-hand opponent overcalls one spade, your partner raises to two hearts, and righty bids two spades. What would you do now, if anything?
    Initially you had four losing spades, but the opposition's bidding tells you that partner has at most a singleton. So, especially if no one thinks to lead trumps, you can ruff some of your spade losers on the board. Perhaps, therefore, you thought about jumping straight to four hearts. That is reasonable, but it will work badly if partner has club values and weak diamonds. Instead, rebid a game-invitational three diamonds.
    Now North, despite his minimum count, should accept the invitation because of his great red-suit holdings.
    Note that because North and South have a double fit, so do East and West. Four spades doubled goes down only two, minus 500. That, though, is easier said than bid with two balanced hands.
    After West leads the spade ace against four hearts, there is little to the play. South has nine top red-suit tricks, so needs one spade ruff on the board for the 10th. (If feeling greedy, he can get two ruffs for an overtrick.)

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