THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
THE BIDDING MAY HELP BOTH SIDES
Arne Glimcher, an art dealer, film producer and director, said, “When Robert Benton was doing the movie ‘Still of the Night,’ I’d choreographed the auction scene and supplied the paintings and had a bit part — I was bidding against Meryl Streep.”
Except for the occasional passout, every bridge deal begins with the bidding. It is intended primarily to help the side with the balance of power, but each call gives information to the opponents.
In this deal, South opened one spade in the second seat, and North responded three spades, a game-invitational limit raise. Now South should have raised to four spades because it was unlikely that North could cover all of South’s losers. However, South control-bid four clubs, hoping North had the spade king-queen, diamond ace and a singleton heart. North control-bid four diamonds. And South signed off in four spades, telling the world that he did not have a heart control. Then North, since he did not have one either, passed.
Now it was easy for West to lead the heart nine. East won with his jack, cashed the heart ace and heart king, then led his last heart. Should South have ruffed high or low?
The auction told West what to lead. But it also told South, who almost certainly held the spade queen. East passed as dealer, but had already produced 10 high-card points in hearts. If he had held the spade queen too, he surely would have opened the bidding. So South ruffed with his spade ace, ran the spade jack through West, and made his contract.