There are two factors which, more than any others appear to affect the clear vision of a vast majority of bridge players. One is possession of 100 honors, the other is the holding of a six-card suit. Either of these conditions is apt to induce a declarer complex, and, when they are both present, partner's chance of playing the hand is negligible indeed.

Exhibit A for the prosecution is here submitted:

NEITHER VULNERABLE SOUTH DEALER

NORTH

[9 of Spades]
[5 of Spades]
[3 of Spades]
[King of Hearts]
[9 of Hearts]
[7 of Hearts]
[Ace of Clubs]
[King of Clubs]
[8 of Clubs]
[6 of Clubs]
[Queen of Diamonds]
[Jack of Diamonds]
[9 of Diamonds]

WEST

[10 of Spades]
[6 of Spades]
[Queen of Hearts]
[Jack of Hearts]
[10 of Hearts]
[8 of Hearts]
[9 of Clubs]
[4 of Clubs]
[3 of Clubs]
[8 of Diamonds]
[5 of Diamonds]
[4 of Diamonds]
[2 of Diamonds]

SOUTH

[Ace of Spades]
[King of Spades]
[Queen of Spades]
[Jack of Spades]
[7 of Spades]
[4 of Spades]
[5 of Hearts]
[3 of Hearts]
[Queen of Clubs]
[7 of Clubs]
[Ace of Diamonds]
[King of Diamonds]
[6 of Diamonds]

EAST

[8 of Spades]
[2 of Spades]
[Ace of Hearts]
[6 of Hearts]
[4 of Hearts]
[2 of Hearts]
[Jack of Clubs]
[10 of Clubs]
[5 of Clubs]
[2 of Clubs]
[10 of Diamonds]
[7 of Diamonds]
[3 of Diamonds]

SOUTH

1 spade
4 no trump
6 spades

WEST

Pass
Pass
Pass

NORTH

2 clubs
5 diamonds
Pass

EAST

Pass
Pass
Pass

This department is of course withholding its endorsement of the bidding sequence employed by North and South in the current offering. South opened modestly enough with one spade, but North got off on the wrong foot when he chose to respond with a bid of two clubs. Not that there is anything theoretically wrong with such a response. North has ample strength to justify probing at the level of two. However the response of two clubs involves what we regard as postponing the agony. It simply means that North will have to take further action to paint a more descriptive picture of his holding. Inasmuch as he holds 13 points he should be willing to insist upon an eventual game contract, and the contract best suggested by his holding would be no trump. A response of two no trump, forcing to game, is therefore the approved choice and sets the stage for South to assay the trick-taking power of the combined holding.

When North chose the "over-delicate approach" with his call of two clubs, South, properly excited, uttered the magic words "four no trump," and with that utterance he dug the grave for a promising enterprise. North announced the holding of an ace, and South then sealed the bargain at six spades.

Unhappily, the heart opening set the contract before the declarer obtained the lead. True enough, had hearts not been opened or had the ace of hearts been favorably located the slam contract would have been fulfilled. But no complaint of hard luck should be sympathetically heard when "misfortune could so easily have been prevented.

Had North chosen the recommended response of two no trump the basis for the best final contract would have been laid, provided South could find it in his nature to resist the lure of 100 honors. This is perhaps the best place to observe that in handling rock-crushers the player with a worthless two- or three-card suit should abstain from the use of Blackwood to afford partner an opportunity to employ that device. And as a logical development of this principle, a player holding a singly or doubly guarded king of a side suit should strive to become declarer to protect that king from attack at the opening lead.

Even after North's response of two clubs South might have saved the day by jumping in his own suit, or, if he chose to be romantic, he might make a jump shift in diamonds, but the point is that North should be given the first chance to bid no trump. With North as declarer, a six .no-trump contract is impregnable.

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)