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Bridge 5/9
If partner asks, bid with anything
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    John Dalberg Acton, an English historian who died in 1902, wrote, "Be more severe to ideas than to actions; do not overlook the strength of the bad cause or the weakness of the good."
    This week, we are looking at times when a player should bid despite holding a very weak hand. Here is another example: when partner makes a takeout double and the responder passes. The doubler's partner (known as the advancer in some quarters) must bid, even with zero points, unless he is long and strong in the opener's suit.
    Here, South must bid one spade. Then North should jump to four spades. But let's assume that North suffers from severe overoptimism, using Blackwood before bidding six spades!
    West starts with a top club and shifts to a diamond. How should South continue?
    The only problem is in the trump suit. Declarer must avoid a loser there. Normally, considering the a priori odds, he would run the spade queen, taking the finesse. It has a 50-50 shot to work. Cashing the ace immediately wins only 6.22 percent of the time, when West has a singleton king. In this deal, though, who has the spade king?
    Count the high-card points. Since there are only 13 missing, West must have the king. There being no point in taking a finesse that is bound to lose, South plays a spade to his ace, hoping the king will drop ... and Mr. Nice Guy, the deal deviser, strikes again!
    If you count only one thing at the bridge table, make it high-card points. They will so often tell you who has what.
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