Although North’s 2NT rebid was non-forcing, showing around 18-19 points, any continuation by South was game-forcing. His 3S rebid therefore asked North to choose between game in spades and no-trumps. How would you play 4S when West leads the queen of diamonds and you draw trumps, finding that they break 3-2? You need to avoid losing three club tricks and the safety play is to lead low to the queen on the first round. Here the seven appears from East and West wins with the ace. You win the diamond continuation, reach your hand with a heart ruff and lead the eight of clubs. If West follows with the four, you plan to run the eight and thereby guarantee yourself two club tricks. If instead West were to show out, you would rise with dummy’s king of clubs and lead back towards your ten. Playing the suit in this way you can deal with most 4-1 breaks in either direction. If instead you start with a club to the king, West will score three clubs and you will go down. (You can recover from such a start at double-dummy, by removing West’s red cards and end-playing him in clubs, but this would not be a practical line at the table.)


Even if you play a strong 2H opening, it is not the best bid on such a hand. With such a wealth of controls you can make a slam opposite Q-J-x-x of clubs. You should show this power by opening 2C. If you risk an opening of 1H someone will probably bid again, yes, but you risk playing in 1H when you could have made 6C or 6D.

AWARDS: 2C - 10, 2H (strong) — 7, 1H — 4, 4H - 2.

David Bird — Knight Features