Sitting South, you risk an overcall in hearts and all is well when-partner raises you to game. How will you play 4H when West leads the jack of clubs? It is fairly clear from Eastís opening bid that the spades are breaking 5-0. How can you avoid three spade losers and one club loser? There are plenty of trumps in both hands, so you should not be surprised to hear that the answer lies in elimination play. You win the club lead and draw trumps in three rounds. You then eliminate the diamond suit by playing the king and ace, followed by a diamond ruff. Neither defender will now be able to lead a diamond without conceding a ruff-and-discard. The time has come to exit with a club. The defenders can choose who wins the trick, but neither of them will be in a hurry to do so. Suppose West wins the second round of clubs. He will have to give a ruff-and-discard allowing you to ruff in one hand and discard a spade loser from the other. Nor will East be happy if he wins the second club. He will doubtless switch to the king of spades, but you let this card win. He continues with the spade queen and you let this card win too. East will now have no safe card to play. A third spade will be away from the jack, into your split ace-10 tenace. A third round of clubs will give you a ruff-and-discard. Game made!

What will you rebid on these West cards?


The modern style is for a rebid of 2H to be forcing opposite a two-level response, and that is your best rebid. The problem with the old style of rebidding 3H on a strong hand (because 2H would be non-forcing) is that partner did not know whether you held five hearts or four and would often find it difficult to choose the right denomination. If you do play 2H as forcing, a jump to 3H can be used as a splinter-bid raise of clubs, showing shortage in hearts.

Awards: 2H-10, 3H-7, 3NT-3.

David Bird ó Knight Features