Even though North had denied four spades by responding 1NT, South was correct to describe his own hand by reversing to 2S. Since North had two good cards and three-card heart support, he jumped to game. How would you play 4H when West leads the queen of diamonds? Suppose you start by drawing two rounds of trumps. The suit breaks 3-2 but you will not make the contract. Neither spades nor diamonds break 3-3. To make ten tricks, you need to ruff a spade in the dummy. Provided you can do this after drawing two rounds of trumps, you will not be worried if the fourth spade is overruffed. The overruff will then be with a master trump. It is not easy to time the play correctly. If you draw two rounds of trumps before playing ace, king and another spade. East will win and draw dummy’s last trump. Suppose instead that you draw only one round of trumps and then play ace, king and another spade. East will win the third spade and West will be able to ruff the fourth spade with the bare jack of trumps. You will still have two tricks to lose and that will be one down. The defenders must win their spade trick at a moment when they can do no damage. Duck a spade at Trick 2! You can win the return, draw two rounds of trumps and then return to the spade suit. Ten tricks whatever the defenders do.

What rebid will you make?

A spade slam is possible and you should suggest this with a cue bid of 4H. You cannot possibly want to suggest hearts as a trump suit after this start to the auction. 4H therefore agrees spades as trumps, suggests a slam and shows the ace (or king) of hearts.

Awards: 4H - 10, 4NT - 7, 4S - 5.

David Bird — Knight Features