Once West had suggested good values in spades, South could expect that a high fraction of his partner’s strong 1NT would be located in the three other suits — plugging the gaps in his own hand. He leapt to 6H and West led the queen of diamonds. How would you have played the contract? Declarer had ten top tricks and could establish an eleventh trick by conceding a trick to the spade ace, setting up one of dummy’s spade honours. A twelfth trick would then arrive by squeezing West in spades and diamonds. Declarer won the diamond lead with dummy’s king and immediately ran the spade king, throwing a club from his hand. West won with the spade ace and returned a spade to dummy’s queen, South discarding a diamond. Running the winners at this stage would not result in a squeeze because East’s ten was guarding the spade suit. To ‘isolate the spade guard’ in the West hand, declarer ruffed a spade in his hand. Now when the trumps were run, followed by the king and ace of clubs, West had no answer. Needing to retain a high spade to guard again the spade six in dummy, he had to release the seven of diamonds. Declarer completed a polished piece of play by cashing the ace and ten of diamonds. Slam made!

What will you say now on these West cards?


A change of suit is forcing opposite a pre-empt and you cannot therefore pass. Your best rebid is 3S, showing some values in that suit. This rebid may allow partner to say 3NT.There is no need to worry that partner will read you for four spades because you are unlikely to have opened 3C with four-card major in your hand.

Awards: 3S — 10, 3NT — 5, 4C — 4, Pass — 1.

David Bird — Knight Features