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The prophets may occasionally be right

The prophets may occasionally be right

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Publilius Syrus was a Latin writer who was born in Turkey in 89 B.C. One of his "Sententiae" was: "Many receive advice; few profit by it."

I wonder how many teachers feel like that. None would be an ideal number, but that would be far too optimistic.

I teach a lot of bridge classes, and I am particularly happy when a deal comes along that "agrees" with one of my Sententiae.

Look at today's North hand. Your partner opens one no-trump, showing 15-17 points. What would you do?

One of my students responded two clubs and rebid two no-trump over two spades. South, with a maximum 17 points, immediately went on to game.

As North put down her dummy, she said to me, "I know you recommend not looking for game when our maximum combined count is 25, but I have three 10s as well." Later, I fed this hand into the Kaplan-Rubens evaluation program (available at It gave a result of only 6.85 points! That queen-doubleton was downgraded.

The defenders did well. West led the diamond nine, top of nothing. East took dummy's queen with her king and cashed the jack. West carefully unblocked the eight, and under the diamond ace he threw the diamond seven. Then East led the four, swallowing West's three. The diamond two and club ace resulted in three no-trump down two.

The top for North-South went to the pair who played in one no-trump. Everyone else was in three no-trump going down one or two. No one was allowed to make the contract.


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