WITH 10 points, North was strong enough to bid 2H on the second round. This cue bid in the opponent’s suit would show a sound raise in partner’s suit. It would have been automatic facing a second-seat overcall. North no doubt allowed for partner being somewhat weaker for a IS overcall in the fourth seat and thought he should be corresponding stronger to show a ‘sound raise’. West cashes two diamonds against your spade game and switches to a trump. When you pay a second trump East shows out. How will you continue? Since East had found a diamond raise with very few points, declarer was sure diamonds were 4-5.

This would give West 3-5-4-1 shape. Declarer had won the second round of trumps in the dummy and now made the key play of the jack of clubs! East covered with the queen and declarer won with the king. West followed suit, confirming that he had 3-5-4-1 shape. Declarer played a trump to the jack, drawing West’s last trump, and confidently finessed the eight of clubs.

The ten of clubs gave declarer a third trick in the suit and he returned to dummy with a fourth round of trumps to cash the ace of clubs. Away went one of his heart losers and the game was made. Take the trouble to count the defenders’ shape and you can often make ‘clever’ plays of this sort.


Many players regard this as an automatic IS response. ‘I always bid a four-card major,’ they will say. The problem is that partner may raise you to 2S on three-card support, on 3-5-3-2 shape, for example. You are then in the wrong trump suit. Suppose instead that North bids 2D and South raises to 3D. You have lost the chance to support hearts. It is better tactically to raise to 2H in the first place. AWARDS:2H-10, IS-8, 1NT-3.

David Bird — Knight Features