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“Up the line”

In the search for a trump fit, the partner of the opener should bid four card suits “up the line” – that is to say cheapest first. In this way no fit will be missed. Whilst it would not be unreasonable to bid the North-South cards to 4 ♠ on this week’s deal, there is a better contract available…

 

North Deals
N-S Vul
A K 7 5 4 3
7
A 6
K Q 7 5
Q 10
Q J 10 8 3
10 5 2
A 9 8
N
W   E
S
J 9 2
9 4 2
K J 8 4 3
6 3
 
8 6
A K 6 5
Q 9 7
J 10 4 2

 

West North East South
  1 ♠ Pass 2 ♣
Pass 4 NT Pass 5 
Pass 6 ♣ Pass Pass
Pass

The South player approached me with his hand – “Partner opened 1 ♠. Should I respond 2  or 2 NT?” The answer is neither! A 2  response guarantees a five-card suit, and a 2 NT response is too unwieldy and to be avoided at all costs. Look at the recommended auction and notice how the 2 ♣ response facilitates bidding to the excellent 6 ♣ contract.

West led  Q and declarer won  K and led ♣ J, which held the trick. He followed by leading ♣ 2 and West won  A and switched to  2. Declarer won  A and began establishing dummy’s ♠s. He cashed ♠ AK and trumped ♠ 3 with ♣ 10. He cashed  A discarding dummy’s  6 and led ♣ 4 to ♣ Q, drawing West’s last trump. He was now in a position to enjoy all dummy’s ♠s and so make his slam, losing just to the ace of trumps.

ANDREW’S TIP: When responding, bid four card suits “up the line”.

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