Tim Bourke
Tim Bourke

Source: 2014 Canberra the Summer Festival, [button link=»http://www.abfevents.com.au/events/not/2014/bulletins/02Thu16.pdf» size=»small» window=»yes»]Bulletin 1[/button]

After North made a forcing rebid of three hearts, South’s three spade continuation promised a spade stopper but denied one in clubs. North concluded the auction by raising to four diamonds and signing off in 5.

The auction calls for a club lead and West begins with ace and another club. You ruff the second club and cash the ace of trumps and both opponents follow. What is the best approach to making the game?


The best approach is to try and establish a long heart, hoping that the suit breaks no worse than 4-2. A typical layout to overcome is:

After drawing the last trump with king of diamonds, and keeping dummy’s jack of trumps, you should duck the first round of  hearts. Here East will win and surely shift to a spade. The percentage play is to rise with the ace of spades and cash dummy’s top hearts, discarding a spade from hand. Next you ruff a heart in hand, establishing a long heart in dummy. All that will remain is to cross to dummy with the jack of trumps to throw your remaining spade on the good

What are the odds? Once the trumps are 2- 1, this plan offers around 84% chance of success. The alternative of playing top hearts and ruffing a heart, hoping for a 3-3 break in the suit, and falling back on the spade finesse is about 68%.