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Bridge: Distribution reading for declarer

Ajay Devgan, an Indian film actor, director and producer, said, “By getting into distribution and production, I am actually widening my base.”

Many less-experienced players do not pay as much attention to hand distributions as they ought. In today’s deal, South read the end-position well by counting out the West hand.

North had to open one diamond because one-no-trump would have shown only 12-14 points. South was also caught by their system. Two diamonds would have been an inverted minor-suit raise, showing a stronger hand; and three diamonds would have been pre-emptive, indicating a weaker, more distributional hand. So South compromised with one no-trump.

Against three no-trump, West led the heart 10. To encourage East to continue hearts, South called for dummy’s king. As declarer hoped, East won and returned a heart, hoping his partner had the queen. South won, played a club to dummy’s ace, then ran diamonds, ending in his hand.

West discarded the spade eight, three clubs and one heart. East threw one heart and one spade.

When declarer next led a club and West played the 10, South was confident that West had started with 3-5-0-5 or 3-4-0-6 distribution. Since the former was more likely, both mathematically and because West would have probably led a club with six of them, declarer called for dummy’s king. East’s queen dropped, and South claimed nine tricks.

Yes, West should have kept two clubs, but that is easier said than done when having winners in another suit.

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