It was possible that 3NT would play better than 4H but this was not easy to investigate, when holding a void diamond. South very reasonably decided to play in 4H and West found the excellent lead of a trump. How would you plan the play? Declarer won the trump lead in his hand and led a low spade towards dummy’s queen. All would have been well if West had held the spade king. Unfortunately dummy’s queen lost to East’s king and another trump was returned, killing any chance of a ruff in dummy. The contract could no longer be made. If declarer played ace, jack and another spade, throwing East on lead, he could force the defenders to play on clubs. That would bring a trick for the king of clubs but he would still lose two spades and two clubs. Do you see the chance that declarer missed? At Trick 2 he should have led the jack of spades from his hand! If East wins and plays another trump, as before, declarer can cross to the spade queen to take a club discard on the ace of diamonds. He can then lead towards the king of clubs, eventually losing just one spade, one heart and the club ace. Nor will East fare any better by ducking the jack of spades. Declarer can then cash the spade ace and take a spade ruff. The losing spade goes on the diamond ace and a club to the king gives him an overtrick.

What will you rebid?


Partner is likely to hold one of two hands - very strong with diamonds, or very strong with spade support and diamonds. Although you have adequate diamond support to raise, it will waste bidding space to rebid 4D. Rebid 3S and wait to see what partner says. A continuation of 4C would be a cue-bid agreeing spades. If East held a diamond single-suiter, he would rebid 4D instead.
AWARDS: 3S-10, 4D-6, 4NT-2.

David Bird — Knight Features