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Posted on Wed, Feb 22, 2012 : 5 a.m.

Bridge column, February 22: An asking cue-bid is revisited

By Phillip Alder

Albert Einstein said, "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning."

With respect to this column, we should make that: "Learn from yesterday, reprise today, use tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop asking for a stopper."

In yesterday's column, the opener cue-bid the intervenor's suit on the second round of the auction, announcing game-forcing values and asking responder to bid no-trump with a stopper in the opponent's suit. Today, the responder makes an identical inquiry.

South opens one diamond, North responds two clubs, East overcalls two hearts, and South rebids three diamonds. North has game-going values and would like to get into three no-trump, but does not have a heart stopper, so cannot bid no-trump himself. He cue-bids three hearts to transmit that exact message. South does not have a heart stopper either, so continues with four diamonds. (Yes, he might have bid four clubs.) North raises to five diamonds.

East takes two heart tricks, then shifts to a club. How should declarer continue?

South must not lose a trump trick. The best play is low to the queen on the first round. This wins when East has king-doubleton or West has a singleton jack. Those two layouts are more likely than East's having king-jack-third.

Declarer wins trick three on the board, plays a diamond to his queen, ruffs his last heart, leads a diamond to his 10, cashes the diamond ace, and claims.

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