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Much poorer trumps, but who knows?

Much poorer trumps, but who knows?

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This quotation is often credited to Cicero in 55 B.C.: "The national budget must be balanced. ... People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance." It was actually written by Taylor Caldwell, a historical novelist.

Yesterday, I gave a deal in which one player had made a takeout double at the three-level, and his partner had to decide whether to pass, converting it into a penalty double, or to bid. I recommended that with a balanced hand, pass; with an unbalanced hand, bid.

Here is another example. What should South do over his partner's second double?

If South had followed my advice, he would have passed and gone plus 100 for down one and 14 out of 15 matchpoints in a virtual duplicate at Bridge Base Online. North-South would have taken one spade, two diamonds and two clubs.

However, South does not read my prose, so he advanced with three spades, which was passed out. How did declarer do after West led the diamond 10?

South won with his diamond queen and played a spade to the king -- a great guess. When that held, declarer played another trump. East won with the 10 and shifted to the heart eight. The defenders took their heart winners, then East tried to give his partner a diamond ruff. South won on the board and played a third trump. When they split 3-3, declarer claimed, having the last six tricks with one spade, two clubs and three diamonds.

Plus 140 was a cold top. So much for my theories!

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