FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA

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Bridge

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THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
SHOW THE TYPE, THEN PLAY THE SUIT

This week, we are looking at strong jump shifts. These show some 13-16 high-card points and either an excellent one-suiter, or a prime two-suiter with responder having length in both his suit and his partner’s suit.
Now look at today’s auction. What do you make of the two rebids, North’s two no-trump and South’s three hearts?
When South responds two spades, North has such wonderful clubs that he can infer South must have a spade one-suiter, not a black two-suiter. So North might immediately launch into Blackwood. But when he chooses to give his partner space to describe his hand, South’s three hearts announces long spades with a control or two in hearts and not in diamonds (the suit he skipped). He would have rebid three clubs with both black suits.
How should South plan the play in six spades after West leads the diamond queen?
Declarer can afford one trump loser, not two. With this suit combination, the best play is to start by cashing the ace. When the jack drops, South continues with the spade queen to drive out the king and claims.
Note that if declarer starts with a losing spade finesse, he will have a nasty guess on the second round: Finesse again or cash the ace?
Also, if the spade ace is greeted by the two and nine, South crosses to the dummy with a diamond and leads a spade toward his hand. He has no guesswork at all.

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