Etcetera / Bridge

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IN TOURNAMENT play a number of pairs use 'Strong Club' systems, in which an opening bid of One Club suggests 16 or more points, but has nothing to do with their holding in clubs. Matters go well if the opponents do not intervene, but a drawback occurs when the strong hand ends by defending, for it is then marked with most of the missing high cards.

East, following his announced method, opened One Club, and South overcalled with One Heart. After a pass by West, North raised to game and West led the nine of spades against Four Hearts.

East did his best when he won with the queen and followed with two more rounds of spades, forcing dummy to ruff. He could judge that his partner held very little and at least, by forcing dummy in this way, he made it impossible for declarer to establish dummy's diamonds with one ruff and reach the table with the third round of trumps.

It was a good try, but unfortunately declarer was also well aware that West held nothing. After ruffing the third spade on the table, he led a club to his king and followed with five rounds of trumps.

East, anticipating a throw-in if he bared his ace of clubs, nonchalantly discarded his last two spades and the three of diamonds. Declarer read the position accurately, however, and played off dummy's top diamonds to drop East's queen - a card with which he was marked after his revealing opening bid.

Just think - if East had been able to open with a pedestrian One Spade, declarer might easily have taken a losing diamond finesse.