What would you have responded to 2NT on those North cards? Even if 3D would be natural, and not a transfer response, it would be a fairly pointless bid to make. With only seven points you surely want to aim for a nine-trick game in no-trumps rather than an eleven-trick game in diamonds. West leads the queen of clubs against 3NT. How would you play the contract? The original declarer won with the club ace and played the queen and ace of diamonds. When East showed out on the second rounded of diamonds, declarer paused to think (somewhat too late!) He concluded that he could make the contract now only if East held both the king and queen of hearts. A heart to the jack lost to West’s queen and the contract went one down. This was a careless effort by declarer. To make the contract he needed only four diamond tricks, not five. He should have ducked the second round of diamonds. He could then win the return and cross to the ace of diamonds, subsequently scoring king and another diamond to bring his total to nine. No doubt declarer would have seen this play if it had been West who held a singleton diamond. He would have been aware of the diamond situation before making the critical play from dummy on the second round of the suit.


How much is your hand worth if spades are trumps? Quite a lot! You have five-card support and a singleton diamond. How much is it worth if the opponents find a fit and play the contract? Hardly anything. Your five-card spade length means that one or other opponent will be singleton or void in the suit. So, raise pre-emptively to 4S, aiming to shut North out of the bidding. If instead you held 13 points and four-card spade support, you would look for a different bid on the first round.

Awards: 4S-10, 3S-7, 4D (Splinter bid)-5, 2S-3.

David Bird — Knight Features