THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder

It is pleasant to report that more is being written for near-beginners. “A First Book of Bridge Problems” by Patrick O’Connor (Master Point Press) contains 50 elementary declarer-play and defense questions, with the answers overleaf. There is also a description of the bidding system used (very basic), an explanation of the responses to Stayman, a glossary of terms used in the book, the themes of the problems and the key points to remember.
This deal is the last in the book, presumably meant to be the hardest. Take the East hand. You are defending against five clubs. Partner leads the spade king. How would you signal?
North had an unenviable choice over one spade: pass, a negative double and two clubs. Pass was undesirable with six points. A negative double was outside the range of this book (and not without risk). Two clubs, though imperfect, was reasonable. You naturally jumped to game, although four spades would have been defeated after a club lead. But South bid five clubs as an each-way bet.
In the book, O’Connor, who is Australian, asks the reader: How do you plan the defense? My phraseology was an attempt to make the problem a tad tougher.
You must not signal. You know South has at most one spade. And you can see a likely three defensive tricks in one spade, one diamond and one club. However, if you signal with the spade three at trick one, partner might think that is showing an odd number of spades and try to cash a second trick in the suit. Overtake with your spade ace and shift to the diamond king.

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