You arrive in 4H and West leads the king of spades. How would you plan the play? The original declarer won the first round of spades and drew two rounds of trumps with the ace and king, pleased to see the 3-2 break. Since he needed the queen of trumps as an entry to dummy, to enjoy the long diamonds, he could not draw the last trump at this stage. instead he led the queen of diamonds. West ducked the first round of diamonds and won the second. He then played the queen of spades followed by the jack. If you had not envisaged this continuation, pause for a moment and think how you would have dealt with it. If you ruff with the trump queen, you will go down. West will ruff the third round of diamonds, as you throw a club, and you will be left with a club loser. Instead you must throw a club from dummy as West plays the third spade. The defence is now powerless. If West plays yet another spade you can ruff in your own hand. You will then draw the last trump with dummy’s queen and discard your club losers on dummy’s diamond suit. The play is just as easy on a club or trump return. Again you will be able to enjoy dummy’s diamonds.

What will you say now?

On last week’s problem the answer was to jump to 3S with a 4-count containing 5-card trump support. This hand represents the other side of the coin. You have sound values and want to invite partner to bid game if he has values to spare. You show such a hand with a cuebid of 2D. By describing your hand accurately you help partner to judge what to do if, for example, North makes a high raise in clubs. You are not strong enough to bid 4S, facing a one-level overcall.

AWARDS: 2D (or 3C) — 10, 4S — 6, 3S — 4, 2S — 3.

David Bird — Knight Features