None vulnerable

Play Bridge: Standard American limit raise preference

"This week’s column takes a break from the Two-Over-One game system to show an example from Standard American."

This week’s column takes a break from the Two-Over-One game system to show an example from Standard American. This is a reminder, that even if one plays Two-Over-One, one still must play Standard American well. After all, Two-Over-One reverts to Standard American in competition and by a passed hand.

The bidding: South, with 12 working HCP’s and five-five in the majors, opens the higher ranking suit, One Spade. North responds Two Clubs showing a Club suit and ten HCP’s or more. South rebids Two Hearts showing four or more, and North takes a preference to Spades, partner’s first bid suit. If North had a limit raise and three Spades, he would have bid Three Spades not Two Spades. After all, South could be six-four or five-four in Spades and Hearts respectively then two Spades is correct. If South is five-five, Hearts would be correct. A five-two fit will resist a forcing defense better than a four-three fit so Two Spades is the better preference.

South knows they have enough for the three-level and finishes bidding out her hand with a Three Heart bid. Now North knows South has five or more Spades and five Hearts. North places the contract in Four Hearts because it should make even if partner is five-five with a minimum.

The Play: West has the obvious lead of the Diamond Jack, top of touching honours in an unbid suit.

Declarer ruffs the second Diamond and plays a Club to the Ace and plays the Heart Jack. The King covers and declarer wins the Ace. Declarer plays to the Club King and runs the Spade Ten through. Holding the nine gives a possibility of a ruffing finesse if the ten loses to the Jack, but it forces the King.

West returns a Diamond which South ruffs. South then cashes the Spade Ace and ruffs a Spade and then draws trump, crossing his fingers that trumps are three-two so he can draw trump.

Declarer will make eleven tricks for +450. He would be down if trump were split four-one. Playing teams and not matchpoints, declarer pitches a Spade on the third Diamond, and then the dummy can ruff the fourth Diamond. He would make the contract if Hearts split four-one or three-two for +420.

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