Norths 2NT suggests around 8 points upwards and a balanced hand. His subsequent 4D is a cue-bid that agrees spades as trumps and shows a control in diamonds. Alhough a grand slam is still possible, South decides that it will be too difficult to locate the minor-suit queens and jumps to 6S. How would you play this contract when West leads the jack of diamonds? You win with the diamond king and draw trumps in four rounds. All now depends on bringing in the club suit for only one loser. If you start by cashing the ace of clubs you will go down. Even if your next move is to lead the ten from dummy, East will cover and eventually score two club tricks. Best is to cross to the diamond queen at Trick 6 and lead the ten of clubs from dummy, planning to run the card. When the cards lie as in the diagram, East will have to cover. You win and then lead towards dummy’s nine. You can subsequently reach dummy again with a diamond to finesse against East’s eight of clubs. Slam made. Suppose, on a different lie of the cards, that West wins when you run the ten of clubs. You would then continue with the ace, hoping for a 3-2 break. Playing clubs in this way gives you an 84% chance of scoring the four tricks you need.

What response will you make to partner’s opening bid of 1H?


Even if partner’s opening bid does not promise five hearts, you are worth a direct game response of 4H. The purpose is two-fold. Your partner may well make the contract. At the same time you make it very difficult for North to enter the bidding if he happens to hold a strong hand.
AWARDS: 4H-10, 3H-7, 4C (splinter bid)-5, 2H-2.

David Bird—Knight Features