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Common Game 2019-01-28 Board 8
West
A763
J
KJ962
Q42
North
QJ52
Q976
Q10
KJ8
East
K109
AK3
84
A10973
South
84
108542
A753
65
D
8
West
North
East
South
1
P
2
P
2
P
2NT
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P

Analysis by David Loeb

The Bidding: After West opens 1, North has a choice between passing and doubling for takeout. North's quacky hand merits a downgrade. North's 12 Support Points are inflated by their doublelton Queen. Many will reasonably pass. East's 2 response is a Two Over One Game Force . A common expert agreement is for West's 2 rebid to confirm 5+ diamonds. East's 2NT rebid is natural and denies a 4-card major. West's 3 rebid shows 3-card support and suggests either slam interest or concern about 3NT. East, with good stoppers in the majors, offers 3NT as the final contract, ending the auction.

In general, it is good to get in and out of auctions quickly. So some Norths will make a takeout double. In his "Over Opponent's Takeout Double" article, Larry Cohen advises "most agree that 2-level bids after a double are natural and NOT forcing. Since you can redouble with 10 HCP, a 2-level response is assumed to be less than 10 HCP." With that understanding East redoubles to show 10+ HCP. As discussed in David Lindop's �The Redouble� article, South could pass to show no preference. Here, South has a preference for hearts. Normally, a jump advance would be natural and invitational. After the redouble, a jump advance is preemptive. Here, South's poor heart texture makes preempting less attractive. South advances to 1. West isn't willing to defend 1. They prefer showing their spade suit. East-West arrive at 3NT.

The Play: South's standard lead is their 4th best heart. Declarer expects South to have 3, 4, or 5 hearts. If hearts are 5-4, holding up will not cut communication, but it might help declarer count the hand. North covers dummy's Jack and returns the 6. Declarer wins while South plays the 2. Declarer knows North started with 4 hearts and South started with 5 hearts.

Running the Queen scores 5 club tricks when South has the singleton Jack, a 2.8% chance. With 2 potential entries to dummy, it offers a 68% chance of scoring 4 club tricks. Leading a low club from dummy has no chance to score 5 tricks, but has a 71% chance of scoring 4 tricks. If North made a takeout double, North should have 3 or 4 clubs. Now running the Queen offers a 20% chance of scoring 5 tricks, and a 100% chance for 4 tricks.

Tempo is critical. 4 club tricks will bring declarer to 8 tricks. If North scores a club trick, before declarer establishes their 9th trick, the defense will have the tempo to score 5 tricks: 3 + 1 + 1. If declarer can sneak a diamond trick before attacking clubs, they may be able to establish 9 tricks before the defense scores 5 tricks. Declarer leads a low diamond towards dummy. If declarer has the Queen, declarer always has 4 diamond tricks. If North has the Queen, declarer may be trying to gain a tempo by sneaking a diamond trick past South. Rising with the Ace is a catastrophe if North has the singleton Queen. Rising with the Ace defeats 3NT if North has Qxx. It gives declarer a guess if North has Queen doubleton.

Declarers who go after clubs first will go down in 3NT. Declarers who attempt to score a diamond trick before going after the clubs will make 3NT if South ducks their Ace and they score their King and go after clubs. If South rises with the Ace, declarer doesn't have the tempo to setup their clubs if they have a club loser. So they must guess whether to play for Qxx onside, Qx offside , or South holding Jack singleton.

Analysis by Lynn Berg

I'd not use the Rule of 20 as an excuse to open the West hand--not with those dubious J and Q. East opens 1 and rebids 1NT over a 1 response. Now West will raise and East goes on to the NT game. Declarer has 4 club tricks if he plays for North to have the J. Playing the diamonds is scary, and I'd try to wait for the opponents to clarify the situation.

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