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ON BRIDGE

A case is on record where a faulty torpedo made a full circle and sank the sub that fired it. Something similar happened to today's West.

West's bid of two clubs was a modern gadget, showing length in both major suits. At six clubs South took the ace of hearts, cashed the top spades, ruffed a spade, led a trump to dummy, ruffed another spade and drew trumps. When East discarded, South could place West with 5-5-1-2 distribution; so South ruffed a heart in dummy and led a diamond, playing low from his hand.

The defense was sunk: if West won, he'd have to lead a major suit, letting South ruff in dummy and throw a diamond; if East won, he'd have to yield a ruff-sluff or lead a diamond from the king.

West was torpedoed by his own bid. Since East had passed, West was unlikely to buy the contract; the most likely effect of his bid would be to help South judge the play.

Conventional gadgets are fun; but before you use one, weigh the possible gain and loss.

You hold: K 8 4 3 6 Q 6 5 2 A 10 9 3. Your partner opens one heart, you respond one spade and he then bids 1NT. The opponents pass. What do you say?

A: Partner promises 12 to 15 points with balanced distribution. He shouldn't have four cards in either minor suit; his most likely pattern is 2-5-3-3. You have no eight-card trump fit available, and partner should have a chance for at least seven tricks at 1NT. Pass.

West dealer

Neither side vulnerable
NORTH
K 8 4 3
6
Q 6 5 2
A 10 9 3
WEST
Q J 10 9 5
J 10 9 4 2
10
8 4
EAST
7 2
K Q 8 7 3
K J 9 8 4
7
SOUTH
A 6
A 5
A 7 3
K Q J 6 5 2
West North East South
Pass Pass Pass 1
2 Dbl 4 6
All Pass
Opening lead -- J

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