Bridge: No-trump weakness

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The Independent Culture
ALTHOUGH the weak no-trump has considerable pre-emptive value and is deservedly popular, even its strongest supporters admit that its use does not always lead to the right contract.

A typical setback is the failure to detect a 4-4 major suit fit, where eight or nine tricks are available, when the responder is not strong enough to introduce Stayman. This proved another awkward hand from a pairs contest.

Love all; dealer North

North

S K 4

H K Q 8 3

D J 8 4 2

C A J 5

West

10 9 6 2

J 10 9

10 6

Q 9 4 3

East

J 5 3

A 7 5

A K Q 7 3

10 7

South

A Q 8 7

6 4 2

9 5

K 8 6 2

Playing a strong no-trump and five-card majors, most Norths opened One Diamond (in effect silencing East) and rebid One No-trump over the response of One Spade. After a diamond lead they had plenty of time for eight tricks. At one table, however, North opened One No-trump (12-14 points) and East's overcall of Two Diamonds left South with a problem. A pass seemed feeble, a double adventurous (although it would have proved a success), and South decided to contest with Two Spades.

After the lead of the ten of diamonds it became clear that he had done the wrong thing. Dummy's jack lost to the queen and, after cashing the ace, East continued with a low diamond. This gave declarer a chance. He discarded a heart from hand and, after ruffing, West switched to the jack of hearts. The king lost to the ace and East pushed through his king of diamonds. South ruffed low and was over-ruffed but now the hand was under control.

Declarer won the next heart lead on the table and drew trumps in three rounds. On the last West found himself in trouble. Forced to keep his nine of hearts in front of dummy, he parted with a club. Now a finesse of the jack of clubs gave South the last four tricks. It was a lot of hard work to end with a score of 110 points to compare with everybody else's 120.

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