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Bridge: March 14, 2019

“Bridge is frustrating,” Unlucky Louie told me. “I’m seeking other intellectual pursuits. I’m joining a Scrabble club.”
“Is it open to anyone?” I asked.
“No,” Louie said, “but the membership chairman said he would put in a good word for me.”
Maybe Louie will do better at Scrabble than at bridge. Against today’s four spades, West led the jack of hearts: queen, king, ace. As declarer, Louie led a trump to dummy’s king and a trump to his jack. When the finesse won, Louie took the ace and started the clubs. But West had a singleton, and Louie lost two diamonds and two hearts.
“Maybe I’ll get a triple-word score for ‘fizzle,'” Louie sighed.
Louie’s play fizzled. He must lead a club to dummy’s queen at Trick Two, return a trump to his jack and cash the ace. He then leads the ace of clubs. If clubs broke 3-2, Louie could claim an overtrick. As it is, he can take the king of clubs, ruff a club and go to the king of trumps to cash the good club for his 10th trick.
You hold: S Q 10 9 H K 7 6 D A 6 3 C J 10 9 4. Your partner opens one club, and the next player passes. What do you say?
ANSWER: To raise to two clubs is possible (although if your partnership uses “inverted” minor-suit raises, this hand is a problem because it’s neither strong nor weak). Most experts would choose a response of 1NT as the most descriptive action. In many partnerships, that call promises a balanced nine to 11 points.
South dealer
N-S vulnerable
S K 4 2
H Q 5 3
D J 9
C K Q 8 7 3
S 8 7
H J 10 9 8
D K 8 7 5 4 2
C 5
S Q 10 9
H K 7 6
D A 6 3
C J 10 9 4
S A J 6 5 3
H A 4 2
D Q 10
C A 6 2
South West North East
1 S Pass 2 C Pass
2 NT Pass 3 S Pass
4 S All Pass
Opening lead — H J
(C)2019 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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