Bridge

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What range do you use for an opening bid of 2NT? The classic range is 20-22 points but, especially if Benjamin Twos are in use (Two Clubs and Two Diamonds being artificial bids with no-trump rebids in reverse) some players prefer 19-21. I am not of their number but I have to admit that it worked well on this deal from a recent match - as a pre-emptive bid at unfavourable vulnerability!

At one table, East duly opened 2NT and, although everyone gave the matter some thought, this ended the auction. South made his natural lead of a low spade and, after knocking out #A, East soon had his eight tricks.

At the other table, East was constrained to open 1#. This gave the opponents their chance: South overcalled with 14, West raised to 2#, and North bounced to 44. Although 5# would have proved a cheap save, East decided to double.

West led #10 and South timed matters well when he did not ruff his losing diamond immediately but led !Q. West's two suggested a two-card holding and East did his best by ducking. Another heart went to the 8,9 and ace and East forced dummy to ruff by leading a diamond.

After ruffing with dummy's 49, declarer continued with 4J. East ducked and this won the trick. It would have been folly to lead another trump at this point for East would take his ace and kill dummy with a return of 4Q. Instead, South used dummy's long hearts as a way to pick up the trumps. As and when East decided to ruff with 4Q, declarer could over- ruff and so remained in complete control, adding 590 points to the 120 collected by his team-mates.

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