SOME players would have opened only 1C on those south cards but there is nothing at all wrong with opening 2C instead. How would you play 3NT when West leads the five of hearts? The original declarer called for dummy’s jack. East won with the heart queen and South discarded a diamond. When East switched to a low spade, West won this trick with the jack and returned the seven of spades. Although there was some chance that declarer’s ace of spades was bare and that East could set up two more spade tricks by playing low on the second round he correctly played safe by contributing an honour. Declarer won with the ace and tested the club suit, discovering the 4-1 break. East won a fourth round of clubs, cashed his established spade honour and returned a heart to West’s ace. Declarer had now lost two spades, two hearts and one club, putting him one down. Did you spot declarer’s mistake? He should have played dummy’s king of hearts at Trick 1. The contract was secure anyway if clubs were 3-2. If they ere 4-1, declarer would we need one trick from the heart suit. Not only that, he needed to prevent East from gaining the lead and switching to spades before clubs were established.

What opening bid will you make?

There are countless bridge teachers who will tell you to open 1D when you are 4-4 in the minors. Another of their golden rules is to ‘open the suit below the singleton when you have a 4-4-4-1 hand’. There is little sense in either of these maxims. On the present hand you should open 1C. If partner responds, 1H, you will rebid 1S. If partner responds in spades or diamonds, you will give a double raise.

Awards: 1C - 10, 1D - 6, 1S - 2.

David Bird — Knight Features