Bridge column, August 20: Tough bidding needs good judgment
A bridge player with a surplus of high-card points can control the auction, but a player without points has to pass and is at the mercy of his opponents' judgment.
When one pair has an uncontested auction, it will usually reach the same final contract whatever bidding system and conventions it employs. However, some deals are challenging because the best contract is not clear-cut. In today's deal, where should North-South land?
The only game that can be made is four spades, on the 4-3 fit. But how do you find that contract with confidence? In the given auction, after North invites game with his three-diamond rebid, South has extra values. Unable to bid no-trump without a club stopper, he shows delayed three-card heart support. Since North's hearts are weak, he indicates his three-card spade support, simultaneously denying a club stopper. With strong spades, South raises to game in that suit. If his spades had also been weak, he would have retreated to four diamonds.
West starts with his two top clubs. The only secret to the play is that declarer must discard a heart now. South takes West's heart shift with his ace, draws trumps, and runs diamonds for 10 tricks.
For the next two weeks, we will look at tricky bidding problems.
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