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THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
MAKE THE BEST OF AWKWARD HAND

Daniel Radcliffe, who became famous playing Harry Potter, said, “I think any guy who says, ‘I’ve never had an awkward moment with a girl’ is a liar.”
Any bridge player who says he’s never had an awkward moment at the table is a liar. The winners, though, find a way to survive when faced with difficult decisions. This week we are going to study hand-dealt layouts that produced problems for the players.
First, look at the South hand in today’s diagram. What would be your opening bid?
Hands with 4-4-4-1 distribution can be a nuisance. But with this one, a good general guideline is to treat king-singleton as if it were king-doubleton. So plan on bidding no-trump. It would not be unreasonable to open two no-trump if you would be promising a good 20, 21 or 22 points. But I think you should upgrade because of all the aces and kings. Open two clubs, planning to rebid two no-trump.
Here, whatever you do, you should end in three no-trump.
West leads his fourth-highest diamond five: seven, three (lowest from a tripleton when unable to play a nine or higher), king. What happens after that?
You have only six top tricks: two spades, one heart, one diamond and two clubs. It would be nice to find the spade finesse winning, but you need to get into the dummy.
Cash the club ace, then lead a low club toward the dummy. Here, West has no defense. At the table, he won with his club queen and played three rounds of diamonds. South discarded three hearts (East threw one heart), cashed the club jack, and ran the spade jack to take nine tricks: three spades, one heart, two diamonds and three clubs.

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