NORTH’s cue-bid of 2S shows the values for a sound raise to 3H (at least). South’s hand was close to a minimum but, instead of signing off in 3H, he made a game try of 3C — bidding his second suit. North could tell that his king of clubs was working well, so he accepted the try, jumping to 4H. West led the king of spades, won in the dummy, and declarer played a trump to the ace, West showing out. How would you recover from the setback? It may seem that you have two certain trump losers and two further unavoidable losers in the black suits. Think again! You have four side-suit winners. If you can add six trump tricks, you will bring the total to ten. You cross to the ace of diamonds and ruff a diamond. Only then do you play a second spade, preparing for a ruff in that suit. West wins and shifts to a club. You win with the king of clubs and ruff another diamond. You then cash the ace of clubs, ruff a spade in dummy and ruff another diamond. Nine tricks are before you and the trump king will give you the game. Count the tricks that you made: four side winners, five trump tricks in hand (including three diamond ruffs) and one spade ruff in dummy. East can enjoy the moment as he ruffs partner’s club winner.

What will you say on these West cards?

You expect partner to hold at least five spades and it looks best to raise to 2S. A bid of 3C would carry the bidding too high and would not be sound. Raising to 2S will cramp North for space. If he rebids 3 H, for example, it may not be clear to South whether the bid is full value for a jump rebid or if North would otherwise have rebid only 2H.

Awards: 2S-10, Pass —6. Double — 4, 3 C — 3.

David Bird — Knight Features