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BRIDGE



Published: Thu, June 23, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



North-South vulnerable. West deals.

NORTH

x -A Q 9 4

u -Q 7 3

v -Q 5

w -K 10 9 8

WEST EAST

x -8 7 2 x -J 10 5

u -9 u -10 8 2

v -J 10 9 6 4 v -A K 8 3

w -J 7 3 2 w -A Q 4

SOUTH

x -K 6 3

u -A K J 6 5 4

v -7 2

w -6 5

The bidding:

WEST NORTH EAST SOUTH

Pass 1w 1NT Dbl

2v Pass Pass 4u

Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: Jack of v

Those hands you read about in textbooks and columns do crop up at the table. This deal is from the recent Spring North American Bridge Championships in Pittsburgh.

East-West were using a weaker-than-usual range for a one-no-trump overcall. However, the rest of the auction and final contract were right out of a standard textbook.

Against four hearts West led the jack of diamonds. Declarer covered with dummy's queen and East won with the king and returned the three. Since this play marked East with the ace of diamonds, the three was a suit-preference signal asking for a return of the lower-ranking side suit. West won with the nine and switched to the deuce of clubs, and the defenders took two club tricks to bank the first four tricks.

Declarer can do a bit better by refusing to win the first diamond, since East is marked with virtually all the missing high cards. However, East can now follow with the three. If declarer has one of the high honors, it must be the ace, hence there is no future in continuing diamonds and the three should again be read as a suit-preference signal for clubs.

What if East held the ace of clubs and king of spades instead of queen of clubs? If declarer covers with the queen, East should win with the ace of diamonds and return the eight as a suit preference signal. And if declarer does not play the queen from dummy, East follows with the eight and again it is clearly right to read it as a suit-preference signal for a spade.

& copy;2005 Tribune Media Services




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