SOMETIMES you watch a session of expert play and leave the table not particularly impressed. ‘The players were good, yes, but I don’t think they did anything that I couldn’t have done myself.’ Occasionally, though, an expert will do something that would not even occur to the majority of players. Take the East cards here, originally held by the great Alfredo Versace of Italy in the National Open Pairs in Pittsburgh. See if you can match his thought processes. West leads the three of spades and you win with the queen. How will you continue the defence ? You can place the spade ace with your partner. Otherwise declarer would have won the first trick with the ace, leaving 10-9-x in the dummy to stop the suit. Versace judged that declarer was likely to hold the jack of spades for his 3NT bid. Expecting South’s shape to be 2-5-1-5, he found the brilliant switch to a diamond! Declarer could not cash three top diamonds before playing a heart because this would set up a fifth trick for the defence. He cashed five club tricks and led a heart, hoping that the king would provide an entry to the top diamonds. Not today, and the game went down.

What will you say now on these West cards?

Nowadays a jump shift shows either a strong single-suiter or a hand with powerful support for the opener’s suit along with a side suit. In neither case is here any value whatsoever in rebidding 2S on such an empty suit. You should rebid 3D. If partner continues with 3H, showing a strong single-suiter, you will cue-bid 4C next, showing a club control and denying a spade control.

Awards: 3D-10, 3H-5, 3S-3.

David Bird — Knight Features