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When a player has bid two suits, he is asking his partner to give a preference. Frequently the partner will be choosing the lesser of two evils with no great enthusiasm. A preference bid must not be confused with genuine support.
♠ 7 2
♥ 7 3
♦ K Q 8 7 6
♣ J 9 5 4
♠ J 9 8 4
♥ J 9
♦ A 10 9 3
♣ K Q 3
♠ Q 10
♥ K 10 5 2
♦ J 5 2
♣ A 10 8 2
♠ A K 6 5 3
♥ A Q 8 6 4
♣ 7 6
|Pass||1 N||Pass||2 ♥|
|Pass||2 ♠||Pass||3 ♠|
|3 ♠ by South|
South, believing that his partner held genuine ♠ support - three cards - invited game with 3♠. This was an error. North was merely giving preference back to South’s first choice trump suit, holding equal length.
3♠ was not a happy contract. West led ♣K then switched accurately to ♠4, trying to remove dummy’s trumps so that declarer could not trump ♥s. Declarer won East’s ♠Q with ♠K and led ♦4. West rose with ♦A, cashed ♣Q and led ♣3, to dummy’s ♣9, East’s ♣10 and declarer trumped. He now cashed ♠A and led a third ♠ hoping for an even split. Not so - West won ♠9, cashed ♠J, drawing declarer’s last trump (East discarding ♦5 and ♦J), then switched to ♥J. This ran to declarer’s ♥Q; he cashed ♥A and exited with ♥4. East won ♥10, cashed ♥K and his last card was ♣A. Declarer had scored just three trump tricks and ♥AQ - down four.
ANDREW’S TIP: Do not confuse genuine support with mere preference.