Mt. Vernon Register-News

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August 1, 2013

Show your hand as soon as possible

Groucho Marx said, “I’m not feeling very well — I need a doctor immediately. Ring the nearest golf course.”

Before we get to the relevance of that, look at the full deal and auction. What do you think about the various calls?

Here is a good guideline: If your hand is not strong but has a long suit, show it immediately. In this case, East should have opened four hearts. Similarly, after the one-heart opening, South should have overcalled with three spades.

West was right to make a negative double, promising length in both minors. Then, if East, with scant defensive values, was going to bid four hearts over three spades, she should have bid it over two diamonds. Do not give the opponents a fielder’s choice — to double or to bid higher. And South should have passed four hearts around to North, who would have been happy to double.

Four hearts should go down two. South leads the spade ace, then shifts to her singleton diamond. North takes two tricks in the suit and leads the diamond three, suit-preference for clubs. South ruffs and switches to a club. North wins with the ace and plays another diamond. East can ruff high, but must lose one more trick to North’s heart king.

Four spades can be made. West leads his singleton. East takes two heart tricks, then does best to lead her trump (but would probably play another heart). South wins with her ace and cashes the king.

Eventually, South must guess to lead the club queen from her hand to pin East’s jack.

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