THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
LISTEN CLOSELY TO THE BIDDING
Wilson Mizner, a playwright, raconteur and entrepreneur who died in 1933, said, “Not only is a good listener popular everywhere, but after a while he gets to know something.”
A good listener at the bridge table is popular with his partner, but less so with his opponents. And he immediately gets to know something.
Yesterday, I recommended not being deaf to the auction. This deal is another example. South gets into four spades after East opens three clubs in the third position. West starts off with three top hearts, East playing high-low to show his doubleton, then discarding the club king (top of touching honors as he cannot win the trick). West shifts to a low club. How should South continue?
When entering the auction after an opponent opens with a pre-empt, assume partner has six or seven high-card points. That makes South’s four-spade overcall a slight overbid. If he had settled for three spades, which would have been an underbid, North would probably have raised because he had so many trumps.
West thought about sacrificing in five clubs, but was dissuaded by the unfavorable vulnerability. Note that five clubs doubled should go down three, minus 800.
South won the fourth trick with his club ace and cashed the spade ace. Now he had to find the diamond queen to make his contract. The bidding gave the answer. West had already shown up with five hearts to the ace-king-queen-jack. If he had had the diamond queen as well, he would have opened one heart, not passed, as dealer. South should finesse through East for the diamond queen.