In classic Acol a second-round jump by the responder, after a 2C opening, showed a one-loser suit. That was pretty rare and the understanding by North-South here was that 4D agreed hearts and showed at most one diamond. In other words, it was a splinter bid. Declarer won the trump lead with the king, cashed his two top diamonds and ruffed a diamond low. He crossed to his hand with the ace of clubs and ruffed his last diamond with dummy’s bare jack. Now came the problem. How should he attempt to return to his hand? What would your next play have been? The original declarer simply played another club. East ruffed and cashed the ace of spades, putting the slam one down. Unlucky, yes, but perhaps there was a better line. Suppose you try to reach your hand with a spade ruff, leading a low spade from dummy after the two diamond ruffs. You will not succeed against best defence. East will play low, allowing West to win and deliver a club ruff. Only one play is good enough. You must lead dummy’s king of spades. This will prevent one of the defenders from gaining the lead in the suit. As it happens, it saves the contract here. East has to win and cannot prevent you from gaining entry to your hand subsequently.
What will you say now?


With only four trumps you should not bid 3H. On auctions such as these you should follow the Law of Total Trumps. Here you expect to hold eight trumps between the hands and should not therefore go past the eight-trick (2H) level unless your point-count suggests that you can make game. All your cards in the side suits will perform equally well in defence.
Awards: Pass - 10, redouble - 6, 3H - 4.

David Bird — Knight Features