Sunday, April 18, 2004


WOULD you have defeated 3NT on this deal? The deal comes from a pairs event in Norway, with the great Geir Helgemo sitting in the East seat. He opened with a Weak Two, despite holding only five hearts and soon found himself defending a notrump game. Tom Johansen led the eight of hearts and declarer played low from dummy. Suppose you had been East. How would you have defended? If you win the first trick with the king, the game cannot be defeated. You can knock out dummy’s ace of hearts but when your partner gains the lead in spades he will have no heart to return. Realising this, Helgemo played the nine of hearts on the first trick, forcing the queen. When declarer next played a spade, Johansen flew in with the king and returned his remaining heart, clearing the suit. Declarer had to continue with spades, but Helgemo produced the ace and cashed three hearts to put 3NT one down. Suppose South allows H9 to win. East plays a heart to the ace and declarer plays a spade. East must with the ace, cash the heart king, and clear a diamond trick for West. One down again.

Bidding quiz

What would you say now on the West cards?


Partner’s 3D suggests a game in spades and you must now judge how good you are for your previous action of 2S. If you think you are minimum, you should sign off in 3S. If you think you have sufficient to spare, you should jump to 4S. If you rate your hand somewhat in the middle, you can show this by bidding 3H, leaving the final decision to partner. Since the diamond king is likely to be worth little, I rate the hand as near a minimum.

Awards: 3S — 10, 3H — 7, 4S — 5.

— Knight Features