You reach game in spades after East has opened with a weak 2H (suggesting six heart and 6-10 points). How will you play the contract when West leads the right of hearts to Eastís jack? West almost certainly holds two hearts to his partnerís six. Suppose you win the heart lead with the ace and play the king of trumps. West will win with the trump ace and cross to his partnerís hand with a second round of hearts. A third round of hearts will then promote Westís ten of trumps.

(If you ruff high, Westí ten of trumps will become good and you will still have a club loser. If instead you throw a club, East will continue with a fourth round of hearts to promote the trump ten.) To break the defendersí communications you should hold up the ace of hearts at Trick 1. The defenders cannot then beat the contract. East will doubtless play another heart, which you win with the ace. When West comes on lead with the ace of trumps, he will have no way to reach his partnerís hand. You can win his return, draw trumps and claim the contract.


If partner has a hand with 4-3-2-4 shape he is doubtless planning to rebid 1NT, or perhaps 2NT. (He must be outside the range for an opening 1NT). The best idea is to respond IS so that a 4-4 spade fit is not missed. Swap the spades and the diamonds and you would be more inclined to respond 1D. Note that it is not a good idea to open 1C and rebid 1S on 4-3-2-4 shape. With a balanced hand you should aim to bid no-trumps on the first or second round.

Awards: 1S - 10, 1D - 7, 1NT-5, 2C - 2.

David Bird ó Knight Features