THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
A REPEAT BID AND DIFFERENT PLAY
George Saunders, who is a professor at Syracuse University and has won the National Magazine Award for fiction four times, said, “I’m always aware of writing around things I can’t do, and I’ve come to think that that’s actually what ‘style’ is — an avoidance of your deficiencies.”
A publisher once told me always to write about things that I know. He and Saunders are clearly in agreement.
Over the last three days, we have looked at the overcalls that vary in meaning when made in the fourth seat instead of the second seat. A one-no-trump overcall is weak, not strong; a single jump overcall in a suit is intermediate, not weak; and a two-no-trump overcall is natural, not unusual — as in today’s deal.
South’s balancing jump to two no-trump showed a balanced hand with some 20-21 points (or slightly fewer points with a good six-card minor). North might have advanced with three clubs, Stayman, to look for a 4-4 spade fit.
After West leads the heart queen, how should South plan the play?
Declarer has six top tricks: two hearts, two diamonds and two clubs. If South immediately concedes a club, West will clear hearts and defeat the contract when in with the spade ace.
As West is marked with the spade ace from his opening bid, South should start with a low spade from his hand. If West goes in with the ace, declarer has nine tricks via three spades, two hearts, two diamonds and two clubs. If West ducks, South wins with dummy’s spade king and switches to clubs. This time, he takes one spade, two hearts, two diamonds and four clubs.