THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
TAKE EXTRA CARE WHEN BREAKS ARE BAD
U.S. Rep. George Miller, from California, said, “The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later, you’re hungry again.”
The trouble with 5-6 hands is deciding in which order to bid the suits. Look at today’s South hand. Would you open one spade or one heart?
With a relatively weak hand, it is better to open one spade and describe your hand as a 5-5. But this hand has very few losers if partner has a fit in one suit (or, even better, in both suits). So South should plan to bid hearts, spades and spades again to describe his 5-6. Note that his two-spade rebid is a reverse because partner, to show preference for the first-bid suit (hearts), has to go to the three-level.
There are two other points about the two-level reverse. It guarantees that the first-bid suit is longer than the second-bid, and it shows extra strength, instigating a game-force.
So North quietly supports hearts before using the Grand-Slam Force, asking South to bid seven hearts with two of the top three trumps. (Roman Key Card Blackwood would also do the job.) Surely South has the spade king for his three-spade bid.
How should South play after West leads the diamond king to dummy’s ace?
Just in case the breaks are bad, declarer should play a low trump to his ace. When West discards, South leads a spade to dummy’s ace, returns a spade to his king and ruffs a spade with dummy’s heart queen. Then he plays a heart to his nine, draws trumps and claims.