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THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
FROM A WEAK MAJOR TO A WEAK MINOR

Ernie Harwell, who called the play-by-play for the Detroit Tigers for 42 years, said, “Everybody in the minor leagues — if you’re a player, an announcer, whatever — wants to be in the big leagues.”
At the bridge table, when we see a long minor suit, we probably wish it were a major suit. The game revolves around majors and no-trump, not minors. However, when we have a long minor, we must make the best pitch we can.
In yesterday’s deal, opener started with one no-trump and responder had a weak hand with a long major. He bailed out of no-trump into his long suit via a transfer bid.
Today, the responder has a long minor. What should he do?
I believe everyone should use transfers into the majors, but only take up transfers into the minors with regular partners. (If you would like to learn about these transfers, go to my web site: phillipalderbridge.com.)
If you do not use minor-suit transfers, the best way to sign off in a minor is by immediately jumping to three of your long suit, which must contain at least six cards — as in today’s deal.
If you use minor-suit transfers, follow your partnership methods.
And note that one no-trump ought to fail.
How should South plan the play in three diamonds after West leads the heart jack?
Declarer starts with two losers in the majors and at least one trump loser. His basic plan should be to lead trumps toward his hand, up to his honors, and to take club finesses when in his hand. Here, he will lose one spade, one heart and two diamonds to make his contract.

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