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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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“Little drops of water, Little grains of sand, Make the mighty ocean And the beauteous land.” – Julia A. Carney

Bobby Wolff United Feature Syndicate

What is the smallest card you’ve ever seen win the first round of a suit? In this column I’ve shown players taking some fairly deep finesses, but today’s play goes as low as possible.

In the round robin of the Venice Cup in Estoril, Portugal, in 2005, England’s Kitty Teltscher (South) did well to reopen at her second turn with a double, but West immediately got her side out of trouble by taking evasive action. When North showed some values by doubling two diamonds to suggest that she had a penalty double of spades rather than a diamond stack, Teltscher made another good decision by removing the double. As it turns out, two diamonds would have been an easy make – possibly even with an overtrick.

Meanwhile, three no-trump looks like rather hard work for North-South. However, West found one of the leads to give declarer an eighth trick, if not a ninth – namely, the diamond queen. Declarer won in hand with the king and played an innocent-looking three of spades. When North followed with the two, Teltscher called for dummy’s four. Now she could arrive at nine tricks via the black-suit finesses. All credit goes to declarer for correctly gambling on her opponent to be asleep.

The Daily Bulletin’s comment was that perhaps the defenders should have been playing reverse signals. Then West would have been obliged to play the seven at her first turn.

Bid with the aces

South holds:

♠ K J 6 5 4
♥ J 7
♦ 8 7 4
♣ A 4 2
SouthWestNorthEast
1 ♣Pass
1 ♠Pass2 ♣Pass
?

Answer: You should raise to three clubs here for two reasons. The first is that game your way (in no-trump, or spades if partner discloses a fit) is not so unlikely that it should be discounted. The second is that you don’t want to let the opponents into the auction cheaply in a red suit.

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