It is not usually advisable to lead a suit that has been bid by the opponents. West knew that there would be four hearts in the dummy, however, and was unimpressed by his holdings in the minor suits. He led the four of spades and East won with the king. Suppose you had been East. Cover the West and South cards for a moment and decide which card you would have returned at Trick 2. The normal rule is to lead the higher card when you have two cards left, otherwise the original fourth-best card. When this deal arose, East duly returned the three of spades. The contract could no longer be beaten. The three was covered by the six and the nine and West could not profitably continue the suit. Declarer won West’s heart switch and knocked out the ace of clubs. Once again West could not play on spades to advantage and the game was easily made. To defeat the contract East must return the ten of spades at Trick 2, breaking the normal ‘rule’. His intention is to retain the lead, should declarer choose to duck the second round. As you see, this play leads to an easy one down. Nothing can stop defenders from scoring four spades and the ace of clubs.

What would you rebid on the West cards?

You are rather strong for a rebid of 3H. I like best a jump to 2NT, which shows 18-19 points and a balanced hand. If partner has five spades, he may bid three of a minor to search for a 5-3 spade fit. If instead he bids 3NT it is reasonable to assume that he holds two hearts. You can correct to 4H. Awards: 2NT-10, 3H-7, 3S-6, 4S/4H/3NT-3.

David Bird — Knight Features