The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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January 18, 2014

Bridge: The houses meet across the baize

The Houses of Parliament in London are encouraging the development of bridge. In July, 12 pupils from Spaxton Primary School in Somerset, U.K., played a game of MiniBridge in the River Room, made available by the Lord Speaker of the House of Lords, The Rt. Hon. the Baroness D'Souza, CMG.

The Lords and the Commons also hold an annual bridge match. Last year's was won by the lower house, the Commons, and that leaves the series score at 21-18 in favor of the upper house.

Today's deal was chosen as the best-played of the day. It was declared by the Earl of Caithness, who was in four spades. West led the diamond king. When East started a high-low with his 10, West cashed his diamond ace and persevered with the diamond queen. How did Caithness continue?

North, Lady Blackstone, made a game-invitational limit raise of three spades. These days, in the tournament world, jump raises in competitive auctions are pre-emptive. North would have cue-bid three diamonds to show spade support and at least game-invitational values.

If South ruffed the third diamond low in the dummy, East would overruff, and later declarer would lose a club to go down one. Alternatively, if he ruffed with dummy's spade queen, that would promote a trump trick for the opponents if spades were breaking 3-1, also resulting in down one.

Caithness saw the solution. At trick three, he discarded a club from the board -- a textbook loser-on-loser play. Then, after drawing trumps, South ruffed his club loser in the dummy to take five spades, two hearts, two clubs and that ruff. 		

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