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In a round-robin match in the Open Trials, you have to find the best action opposite partner's Multi.

None vul, East deals. As West, you hold:

West
105
KQ104
KQ983
103
W
N
E
S
2
X
?

2: Weak 2 in one of the majors, could be 5-card suit

DBL: 13-15 balanced or some strong hand

Available to you are:

2 or 3 of a major: Pass or correct.

2NT: Asks about suit and strength.

3 of a minor: 5+ in the corresponding major.

Pass: If next hand passes, partner is instructed to pass (ending the auction) with 3+ diamonds. With fewer than 3 diamonds, partner shows his suit (2 with hearts, redouble with spades). If next hand bids, partner passes regardless of his hand.

Redouble: Forces partner to bid 2, after which you place the contract.

Your call?

West
105
KQ104
KQ983
103
W
N
E
S
2
X
?

A 2 pass or correct call seems reasonable. You are willing to compete to 3 if partner happens to have hearts. In the more likely case that partner has spades, you do have some spade support, so 2 figures to be reasonable.

It is possible that partner has only 5 spades, in which case 2 might not be your best spot. With your good diamond holding, you can simply pass. Partner won't be passing out 2 doubled with fewer than 3 diamonds, and if he has 3 diamonds you are happy to be playing it here. Otherwise, partner will show his major, and you will get to the same 2 contract. In the meantime, North will have to make a decision. He doesn't know whether or not 2 doubled will be passed out if he passes, so he can't afford to pass without some diamond length. If North bids anything you are off the hook, and the opponents are floundering to get to a decent contract. They won't even know which suit partner has, which can lead to some interesting results. If partner happens to have hearts, the opponents will be able to outbid you in spades, so nothing will be lost.

You pass. The bidding continues:

W
N
E
S
2
X
P
P
XX
3
?

Pass: Asks partner to pass (if North passes) with 3+ diamonds, pull with fewer than 3 diamonds.

RDBL: Fewer than 3 diamonds, suit is spades.

Your call?

West
105
KQ104
KQ983
103
W
N
E
S
2
X
P
P
XX
3
?

You can probably defeat 3, but it can't be right to double. 3 might make, and the double would be very costly. If you double, the opponents might run to 3NT or 4, both of which might have a better chance of making than 3. Finally, it is possible that North is about to bid 4, which you would welcome. Passing is clear.

You pass, ending the auction.

W
N
E
S
2
X
P
P
XX
3
P
P
P

Your lead. Standard honor leads.

West
105
KQ104
KQ983
103
W
N
E
S
2
X
P
P
XX
3
P
P
P

Leading partner's suit feels right, as every other suit looks more dangerous.

You lead the 10.

West
105
KQ104
KQ983
103
North
QJ62
6
10752
9742
W
N
E
S
2
X
P
P
XX
3
P
P
P

Small from dummy. Partner plays the 3, and declarer wins the ace.

Partner's play is defined as suit-preference. 2, 3, 4 are (by priority) suit-preference low. 10, 9, 8 are (by priority) suit-preference high. 6, 5, 7 are (by priority) encouraging. If partner has two or more cards in the same category, the stronger signal says that is the signal he wants to give while the weaker signal says he wants to give another signal but is unable to do so.

Declarer plays ace and a small heart to your 10. A spade is discarded from dummy. Partner follows with the 7 and the 9. What do you play?

West
5
KQ
KQ983
103
North
QJ
10752
9742
W
N
E
S
2
X
P
P
XX
3
P
P
P

It is clear to cash your top hearts. You want those out of your hand, since the less you have to lead, the better. You might as well cash the king first, suit-preference for the higher suit.

You cash the king and queen of hearts. Two clubs are discarded from dummy, while partner discards the 4 and 7. Now what do you do?

West
5
KQ983
103
North
QJ
10752
97
W
N
E
S
2
X
P
P
XX
3
P
P
P

Declarer has 6 hearts. His failure to play the queen of spades at trick 1 makes it clear that he has a singleton ace of spades.

Partner's 3 at trick 1 was a clear suit-preference signal for clubs, since partner could have played a card from any category. His follow-up spade discards, lowest spade on every discard, more than confirms club strength. It screams club strength. Partner must have at least 2 club honors. Also, he probably has 4 clubs for this discarding sequence. This makes declarer's likely shape 1-6-3-3, and partner's shape 6-2-1-4.

It might look safe to exit with a spade now and worry about the future later. A club shift might finesse partner out of something. However, the future will arrive soon. Whether declarer has AJx or Axx of diamonds, he will be able to put you in and force a club play from you.

Given that you are going to have to lead clubs at some point, it makes more sense to do so immediately. Perhaps partner's clubs are solid and the shift won't give declarer a finesse. The idea is to save an exit in spades for later when you may really need it. If you play a spade now, you will not have a later exit in spades, and may be forced to give declarer a trick.

You choose to lead a spade. It goes queen, king, ruff. Declarer cashes AK of clubs, ace of diamonds (partner playing the jack), and continues with a diamond. You win your KQ of diamonds, but are forced to give dummy a trick for down 1. The full hand is:

West
105
KQ104
KQ983
103
North
QJ62
6
10752
9742
East
K98743
97
J
QJ85
South
A
AJ8532
A64
AK6
W
N
E
S
2
X
P
P
XX
3
P
P
P
D
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
10
2
3
A
3
1
0
A
4
6
7
3
2
0
2
10
6
9
0
2
1
K
2
4
3
0
2
2
Q
4
7
5
0
2
3
10
Q
K
8
3
3
3
A
3
7
5
3
4
3
K
10
9
8
3
5
3
A
3
2
J
3
6
3
4
10

How was East's carding?

West
105
KQ104
KQ983
103
North
QJ62
6
10752
9742
East
K98743
97
J
QJ85
South
A
AJ8532
A64
AK6
W
N
E
S
2
X
P
P
XX
3
P
P
P
D
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
10
2
3
A
3
1
0
A
4
6
7
3
2
0
2
10
6
9
0
2
1
K
2
4
3
0
2
2
Q
4
7
5
0
2
3
10
Q
K
8
3
3
3
A
3
7
5
3
4
3
K
10
9
8
3
5
3
A
3
2
J
3
6
3
4
10

It was good, but not perfect. West knows East's exact spade holding, East knows this, and West knows that East knows this. This gives East complete freedom with his spade spots for gradations of suit-preference. He was correct to play the 3 on the first round, since that definitely emphasizes clubs which is what he wants to do. However, East does have a little help in diamonds, though, and his clubs aren't rock-solid. He should try to show this to his partner. Perhaps discarding the 8, then the 4, would get across this message.

How about declarer's line of play?

West
105
KQ104
KQ983
103
North
QJ62
6
10752
9742
East
K98743
97
J
QJ85
South
A
AJ8532
A64
AK6
W
N
E
S
2
X
P
P
XX
3
P
P
P
D
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
10
2
3
A
3
1
0
A
4
6
7
3
2
0
2
10
6
9
0
2
1
K
2
4
3
0
2
2
Q
4
7
5
0
2
3
10
Q
K
8
3
3
3
A
3
7
5
3
4
3
K
10
9
8
3
5
3
A
3
2
J
3
6
3
4
10

From the bidding and West's failure to lead a diamond, declarer can be pretty sure that East has a singleton diamond honor. Declarer doesn't want East to get in, since once East puts that honor on the table the defense will have no problems. Declarer would have done better to play ace then jack of hearts, in case East has 107 doubleton. Even better, declarer should try the effect of the jack of hearts at trick 2. West will win, but unless West has both the 10 and 9 of hearts he will not know that it is safe to continue hearts. West will probably have to play East for that singleton honor at some point in the hand, and that might not be too easy to find.

How was the N-S auction?

West
105
KQ104
KQ983
103
North
QJ62
6
10752
9742
East
K98743
97
J
QJ85
South
A
AJ8532
A64
AK6
W
N
E
S
2
X
P
P
XX
3
P
P
P
D
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
10
2
3
A
3
1
0
A
4
6
7
3
2
0
2
10
6
9
0
2
1
K
2
4
3
0
2
2
Q
4
7
5
0
2
3
10
Q
K
8
3
3
3
A
3
7
5
3
4
3
K
10
9
8
3
5
3
A
3
2
J
3
6
3
4
10

It was reasonable. North did well to pass and risk playing in 2 doubled. It was a reasonable gamble, since East probably didn't have 3 diamonds. South was able to show a long heart suit with extra strength, and of course North knew to quit.

Our treatment of responder's pass over the double is one of the most effective parts of our Multi structure. Quite often responder is sitting with a singleton in one of the majors, and he knows that if he takes a pass or correct route to that major he is likely to be doubled there. This is particularly true non-vulnerable, since opened might well have a 5-bagger. Under these circumstances responder will usually pass even with only 4 diamonds, since a 4-3 fit (which might be a 4-4 fit) figures to be no worse than playing in opener's major. Most important, we will often escape unscathed. If responder passes, fourth seat can't afford to automatically pass to see what happens, since he doesn't know whether opener will be dropping the contract there or not. Thus, unless fourth seat has at least 4 diamonds he is practically forced to bid something and we are off the hook. We have often avoided going for a number with this strategem.

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