FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA

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Bridge April 28

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THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
STRONG OR WEAK JUMP SHIFTS?

Partner opens, say, one heart, the next player passes, and you respond two spades. What are you showing?
There are typically two answers to that question: a weak or strong hand.
A weak jump shift shows a six-card suit and some 4-8 high-card points. But this week, let’s look at the strong variety.
In the old days, a strong jump shift promised 17-19 points. However, it is much better to use a 13-16-point range: sufficient to insist on game, but then wanting partner to decide whether to go higher. (More on why tomorrow.)
The responder has one of two hand-types: an excellent one-suiter with six or more cards in his suit, or a good two-suiter with five or six cards in his own suit and four or five in partner’s suit. With the two-suiter, he rebids in partner’s suit. With the one-suiter, responder does something else, usually rebidding in his suit or in no-trump.
In this deal, South learns all about his partner’s hand and should have no trouble settling into seven no-trump. After West leads the diamond queen, how should declarer play?
South can count 14(!) tricks via five spades, five hearts, two diamonds and two clubs. The only danger is a 4-0 spade break. But declarer can avoid a loser whatever the position as long as he starts with dummy’s ace (or king). This keeps one high honor in each hand to capture an opponent’s lower honor (the jack). South can finesse either way to stop that jack from taking a trick.

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