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Posted on Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 5 a.m.

Bridge column, October 21: Beginner's defense, or more difficult?

By Phillip Alder


Adelle Davis, an author and nutritionist who died in 1974, said, "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper."

This week we have been looking at deals in which kings have played star roles. Here is another, which you are probably reading while you eat breakfast. I found it on a card labeled "beginners' defense."

South is in four spades. West leads the diamond king. What should happen?

If you still use a two-no-trump response to one of a major as showing 13 to 15 points without four-card support (not as the Jacoby Forcing Raise), North could bid that, planning to remove a raise to three no-trump to four spades because of the weak diamonds.

If you use the modern two-over-one game-forcing, North would rebid three spades and South would raise to four spades.

It looks natural for East to encourage a diamond continuation at trick one by signaling with his eight. And that would be fine if West has only three diamonds. But here, if the defenders continue diamonds, South ruffs the third round, draws trumps and claims 10 tricks, losing two diamonds and one heart.

East should see a safer alternative. At trick one, he overtakes West's king with his ace. Then he cashes the heart ace before returning a diamond. West should have no difficulty in giving his partner a heart ruff to defeat the contract.

Do you think that is easy?

I would not expect beginners or slightly more experienced players to find that defense.

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