BRIDGE

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The Independent Culture
IN A fiercely contested auction it often pays to take out insurance. In other words, bid one more for the road! You may regard North's bid of Five Spades on this deal as back-seat driving, but it illustrated the principle well.

After two passes South opened One Spade, West overcalled with Two Diamonds, and North raised to Two Spades. East raised to Three Diamonds, South jumped to Four Spades, and West went on to Five Diamonds. South doubled but North removed to Five Spades to end the auction.

Five Diamonds would have been an easy make. And a raise to Four Spades by North might have kept East out of the act.

Five Spades, of course, was always booked for one down. Or was it? West began with his two top diamonds, then started to think. Remember, South had bid nothing but spades. Eventually West, perhaps reluctant to lead away from a king, switched to the six of clubs. This was doubly disastrous - not only did it pick up his partner's jack but, after trumps had been drawn, it allowed declarer to discard all of dummy's hearts on the clubs.

West should have argued that, while it was possible that a heart lead might be into the teeth of a possible AQ with South, it could hardly cost the contract. East must have values to have made a bid and, if not in hearts, they must be in clubs.

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