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Bridge 8/31
From two to three, from six to seven
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    So far this week, we have looked at weak two-bids. What is the difference if the opening bid is at the three-level? The basic rule of thumb is that at the two-level, you promise a six-card suit, but at the three-level, you will have a seven-bagger -- one more trump equals one more trick.
    Look at the South hand. Your partner opens three clubs. What would you respond?
    Once you have decided, look at the North and South hands. Then decide how you would play in three no-trump by South after West leads the spade queen, and in five clubs by North after East attacks with the diamond jack.
    South ought to jump to five clubs because in three no-trump he might, if partner's suit were weaker, score only one club trick. If North has six tricks with clubs as trumps, South has five more to make the 11 required for game in clubs. A slam is possible, but unlikely, and impossible to bid with any confidence.
    In five clubs, you win the first trick with the diamond king and play a trump to the ace, guarding against bad breaks. When East discards, you lead, say, a spade to the king and take a marked club finesse, conceding one heart and one club.
    Three no-trump is a more testing declarer-play exercise. You have seven top tricks: two spades, one heart, two diamonds and two clubs. After winning the first trick, the correct play is a club to North's nine, just in case West has all four missing clubs. When the nine holds, you return to hand, take a second club finesse, and win 12 tricks: two spades, one heart, two diamonds and seven clubs.
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