Bridge July 29


THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder

Isaac Asimov said, “It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety.”
Some bridge experts are known for making unusual bids. Then, even when they produce an obvious call, opponents tend to assume that they were being “clever.”
In this deal, which occurred during a social game, look at the South hand. After two passes, East opens one club. What is the “obvious” call for South?
East’s opening bid would not meet with universal agreement. Since partner is a passed hand, game is unlikely. There is a good case for opening one heart (or one spade). Yes, partner will expect a five-card suit, but if West ends on lead, he is more likely to find a good choice than after a one-club opening.
I think South should overcall three no-trump. Yes, it looks weird with those major-suit holdings, but he has eight winners. A dummy worth its salt will add a ninth. And a slam is unlikely opposite a passed partner.
If South bids three no-trump and it is passed out, what should West lead?
Unless South is being subtle, he has a long, solid minor and is ready for a club lead. West should choose a major, presumably a heart.
Note that the defenders can take the first eight tricks, four hearts and four spades. But after a minor-suit lead, South has 10 winners.
At the table, South passed over one club (often the right move when long and strong in opener’s suit), West responded one heart, East raised to two hearts, and then South overcalled three clubs. That was passed out and made with an overtrick.

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