Photo: Tim Bourke; Source: Canberra Summer Festival of Bridge 2013
Dealer West, E-W Vul.
10 9 7 6
A Q 2
K J 5 4
K J 6 3
A Q 10 6
A 10 7 5
North’s double on the second round promised three-card heart support. As you like an adventurous life, you decide to leap to game in hearts despite knowing that you will have only a 4-3 trump fit. West begins with two top spades and East signals with two small cards to indicate a three-card suit. How do you plan to make ten tricks?
If trumps are 3-3, then ten tricks will be easy. If the trumps are 5-1 or West has four trumps then there will be no way to make four hearts. So the crucial case is when East has four trumps, as here:
West has the ace-king of spades and either the queen or the jack of spades. In these days of light opening bids, this makes East a heavy favourite to hold the king of clubs. You should make a plan that will produce ten tricks when East has four trumps, three spades, and the king of clubs. After ruffing the second spade in hand, to protect against a club shift when East has both the king and jack of clubs, you should draw two rounds of trumps with the king and ace and then ruff a second spade in hand with the jack of trumps. This will give you a fifth trump trick. Next, you will play a diamond to the king followed by the queen of trumps. On the above deal, West’s discard reveals that East has a trump trick. You continue with your remaining diamond winners. What can East do on the given layout? If he ruffs at any stage, he will have to lead a club from the king. You will then make the game with three trump tricks, two spade ruffs, three diamonds and two clubs. If instead East fails to ruff a diamond, you will score just one club trick but four diamonds, again bringing you to a total of ten.