Anna Lappe, an author and educator, claimed, “Hope doesn’t come from calculating whether the good news is winning out over the bad. It’s simply a choice to take action.”

She was discussing diet, but it could also apply at the bridge table. On every round of the bidding, you have the choice to take action or to pass. Sometimes, you will hope your choice works well; but more often, you should be confident it is the best action at that moment.

In this deal, what do you think of the various actions and inactions?

The first round of the auction was predictable. North would have liked to make a takeout double to bring hearts into the picture, but that would have risked partner’s advancing in diamonds and reaching a bad fit at a high level.

Then, over three clubs, East should have bid three spades; in a competitive auction, get to the ninetrick level with a nine-card fit. If East had done that, South would have made a card-showing double, which North would have removed to four hearts, reaching their best contract by the back door.

When East passed, South made the sensible choice of three hearts. He knew game values were possible, he had already passed, and he had some club support if North did not like hearts.

Finally, North should have bid four hearts. It was quite likely that South had the club ace, and if he did, four hearts had to have play.

At the table, East won the first trick with his spade queen and shifted to the diamond jack. South won with his ace, drew two rounds of trumps, and turned to clubs to end with 10 tricks.

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