ETCETERA / Bridge

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The Independent Culture
THERE is something about the conventional strong One Club opening bid that excites the opposition into wild and adventurous activity. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not, but at least everybody has to guess at an unnaturally high level. As Garozzo observed 'it is a waste of time playing a strong club system when you are vulnerable against non-vulnerable opponents'.

South opened One Club (17+ points) and West overcalled with Four Diamonds. (This was pushing pre-emption too far.) North passed and East raised the level of the barrage with Five Diamonds. An aggrieved South showed his spades. North, with some values, a measure of support in spades, and the near certainty that his partner was void in diamonds, went to Six Spades and all passed.

West led the jack of diamonds to his partner's king and East switched to a trump. Declarer drew trumps and turned his attention to the hearts. The king and queen brought no joy and, although it was likely (in view of his assumed length in diamonds) that West was short in hearts, declarer still went up with the ace on the third round and now had to lose a heart trick.

Not only had South played against the odds, he had missed a chance of making sure. Suppose, after drawing trumps, he had cashed the ace and king of clubs, crossed to the king of hearts and ruffed a club. Now West would have shown up with three clubs, two spades, six diamonds (surely), and therefore only two hearts. Then the finesse of the ten of hearts on the third round becomes even more marked. In view of this success, I suppose West will pursue his policy of making lunatic pre-empts over strong Clubs.

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