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Bridge: Bidding has it’s surprises

Lou Holtz, a former football coach, said, “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond to it.”

Is bidding 10 percent what your partner bids and 90 percent how you respond to it? Not really; it ought to be an equal division of labor.

This week we are looking at responder’s rebids. In today’s deal, what should North do?

As we learned yesterday, if North has a weak hand with 6-9 points (or a poor 10), he must pass or bid two hearts or two spades. Here, though, North has game-invitational strength. To show that, he must rebid two no-trump or three of a bid suit (or, although it is impossible here, two of a new suit, as long as that would not be the fourth suit named in the auction, which we will cover later in the week). With three-card heart support, North should jump to three hearts. South would then bid four hearts.

Next, look at the West hand. What should he lead against four hearts?

The club queen looks mighty tempting. But what happens then? South wins with his ace, takes dummy’s top spades to shake his club loser, and plays a diamond. West can win and shift to a trump, but declarer plays another diamond. South wins the next heart lead in his hand and ruffs a diamond on the board. He loses only three diamond tricks.

With such strong diamonds sitting over declarer’s second suit, West should lead a trump.

Then, as long as he leads another heart every time he is on play, he gets four diamond tricks to defeat the contract.

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