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Common Game 2014-05-25 Board 1
West
K983
9864
9765
K
North
7
753
AK83
109753
East
AJ42
A10
Q1042
AJ8
South
Q1065
KQJ2
J
Q642
D
1
West
North
East
South
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
P
2NT
P
3
P
P
P

Analysis by David Loeb

The Bidding:
After East opens a strong notrump, South may be tempted to use the partnership's method to show both majors. In the direct seat, a two-suited overcall should show five-five or five-four distribution. With moderate values and a three suiter, it is best to pass.

West, with an almost ideal shape for Garbage Stayman , will bid 2. East's 2 response will be passed around to North.

Should North balance? The opponent's auction has announced they have less than invitational values. So strength on this board will be close to evenly divided. North, with spade shortness, should absolutely compete. There are few matchpoints available for defending two of a major when the opponents have found a fit.

North's options for balancing are doubling for takeout or bidding an Unusual2NT for the minors. Doubling may well lead to playing in a four-three fit at the three level. An Unusual 2NT bid gives the partnership a better chance of finding and eight or nine card fit. Balancing has three ways to win. The contract may make. It may go down less than the value of the opponent's partscore. Even down one doubled is better than two spades making. The opponents may take the push to the three-level and go down. Balancing loses when both 2 and the balancing contract go down or when the balancing contract goes down more than 2 would have scored. A lot of matchpoints can be won with good balancing decisions. Balancing with an Unusual 2NT for the minors looks like a great matchpoint bet.

After South bids 3, West will be wishing they were playing this Board at another table. From West's perspective, the 3 bid looks like it will win a lot of matchpoints for North-South. North is likely to short in spades. South is likely to be short in diamonds. The possibility of a two trick set seems remote. South must guess whether to pass, double or take the push to 3. For a poll and discussion on West's action over 3 click here . The poll will be available shortly after 5:00 pm EDT.

The Play:
If East-West compete to 3, declarer has to lose a heart, two diamonds, and a spade. The defense will obtain the setting trick with a diamond ruff. There are several other lines of defense to set 3. The key is for South to avoid leading a club into declarer's Ace-Jack after dummy's singleton King is cashed.

Defending against 3, the defense has four quick tricks. A heart ruff or a diamond force will provide the setting trick. The diamond force is quite an unlikely line. At most tables, East will cash the heart Ace and continue with the Ten, making it clear to West that a heart ruff is desired.

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