North’s cue-bid showed a sound raise to 3H. A direct 3H would have been pre-emptive. West led the king of clubs, drawing the two and the jack from the closed hands. Concluding that South held the singleton club, West switched to the nine of diamonds. This was the best defence. On a passive trump switch, for example, declarer would be able to run the queen of clubs, throwing a diamond. He could subsequently throw a spade and a diamond of the established clubs. How would you play from this point? Declarer covered with dummy’s ten of diamonds and allowed East’s jack to win the trick. East, who could not safely continue diamonds, switched to a trump. Declarer won with the king and played a spade to the king, followed by a spade to the ten and ace. After a second diamond to the queen, king and ace, declarer crossed to the queen of trumps, ruffed a club and cashed the spade queen, throwing dummy’s last diamond. He was then able to cross-ruff the remainder of the tricks to make game. The deal comes from a pairs and most declarers had made 4H, two of them with an overtrick. I dare say the defence had not been so testing elsewhere.

What would you say now on the West cards?


You should raise to 4S, whatever the vulnerability. There are two reasons why you might raise a pre-empt to game. One is the obvious one — that you think there will be a good chance of making game. The other, which applies here, is that you have a good fit and want to make life difficult for the opponents. North doubtless has a good hand and will be inconvenienced by your response.

AWARDS: 4S-10, Pass-5.

David Bird — Knight Features