Bridge: December 30, 2016

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“How did the cat ever get into the bag anyway?” — graffiti

South roared into 6NT after West inserted a vulnerable overcall of two hearts. West led the queen of hearts, and South took the king and counted 11 tricks. He could try for a 12th in spades, but South feared that West had the ace and queen for his overcall.

So South instead took six clubs and three diamonds, saving the king of spades and A-10 of hearts. West had to keep the ace of spades and J-9 of hearts, and the contract was in the bag. South next led a spade, and West had to concede the last two tricks.


If West had kept any other three cards at the end, South could have read the position easily.

Many players would have overcalled two hearts as West — the bid had possible preemptive value — but West’s action let the cat out of the bag. If West passes, South may still get to 6NT, but whether he will make it is uncertain. Bidding with a weak hand has potential drawbacks as well as benefits.


You hold: ♠ 7 ♥ 7 4 3 ♦ A Q 7 ♣ A Q J 9 6 2. Your partner opens one spade, you respond two clubs and he bids two hearts. The opponents pass. What do you say?

ANSWER: From your viewpoint, the most likely game is at notrump. Take the bull by the hand (pardon the mixed metaphor) and bid 3NT. A rebid of three clubs would be neither forcing nor encouraging, and a temporizing bid of three diamonds might place a notrump contract in the wrong hand.


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