David Bird

Northís 3C response was Stayman and Eastís double of this bid showed good values in clubs, suggesting that partner should lead the suit. South correctly proceeded with his normal response of 3H and North raised to 5H, inviting a slam. With so many aces and kings in his hand, not to mention the ace of Eastís suit, it seemed an obvious raise to the slam for South. How would you play 6H when West leads the five of clubs to Eastís jack?

The mirror 4-4-3-2 distribution was a disappointment but South could see one chance of success. He won the first round of clubs, drew trumps in three rounds, then played three rounds of spades. His next move was to cash the ace and king of diamonds, in the hope that East had started with only two cards in the suit. Finally, he exited with a club of dummyís 10. It was his lucky day! East had to win the trick, as expected, and he had no diamond to play. The enforced club return gave declarer a ruff-and-discard and he was able to throw his diamond loser. Twelve tricks made.

What would you say now?


The hand is somewhat too strong for an immediate bid of 4H, since if partner has a well-disposed 16-count, he might be able to make a slam. There are two ways in which you can show good values and a heart fit. You can cue-bid 3D, which shows at least a sound raise to 3H. You could also bid 4D, a splinter bid to show a sound game raise and at most one diamond. This is more descriptive and therefore my top choice. Awards: 4D (splinter bid) - 10, 3D (sound raise) -8, 4H-6, 3H-3.

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