Bridge column, August 25: Do not be locked into 4-3-2-1 points
At the bridge table, high-card points do alter things. A top player, though, is not blinded by them; he is flexible in his thinking.
For example, in today's deal, do you agree with North's raise to two no-trump (given that it was natural, not a transfer to diamonds)? And what should South do now?
A one-no-trump overcall should show about 15.5 to 17.5 points, a little stronger than a one-no-trump opening. (You want some extras because if West has a fair hand, he will make a penalty double, which will be lucrative unless North can run into a long suit.)
This appears to make North's raise borderline, but aces are wonderful, worth nearer to 4.5 points than four. And any finesses that South wishes to take are probably winning. So North's game-try is fine. (In fact he might even jump to three no-trump!)
Also, the South hand seems to be a minimum with only 15 high-card points. However, it has a lot of pluses because East is known to have almost all of the missing points. There are surely three spade tricks available. And that diamond suit will be worth three or four tricks. South should not be a point automaton and should happily raise to three no-trump.
Probably West will lead the spade six. South wins and drives out East's diamond honors, ending with 10 tricks: three spades, two hearts, three diamonds and two clubs.
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