THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
RUN FROM NO-TRUMP WITH A LONG SUIT
Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman statesman and orator who died in 43 B.C., said, “Orators are most vehement when their cause is weak.”
I often feel that way about playwrights who include lots of shouting — they could not think of anything worthwhile to write.
This week we are looking at bidding with weak hands — for example, the gorgeous two-count held by North. After partner opens one no-trump, he must not pass, but must convert the contract to two spades, here via a transfer bid. His hand might be useless in no-trump, but will be worth three or four trump tricks in spades.
After West leads the heart king, how should South plan the play?
Note that North’s having to use a transfer, rather than a natural, drop-dead two-spade response, has the disadvantage of giving the opponents two chances to enter the auction; but it does allow the strong hand to become the declarer.
If East-West do enter the auction and reach three diamonds, a club lead is fatal. The defenders can take one heart, three diamonds, one club and a club ruff by North.
South has six losers: three spades, two hearts and one club. However, he can eliminate one loser by winning with the heart ace and cashing his three diamond tricks, starting with dummy’s queen (the honor from the shorter side first). On the third diamond, declarer discards a heart from the board. Then, with his loser count down to five, he leads a trump and keeps playing trumps every time he is back on lead.