BRIDGE FOR THE IMPROVER by Ron Klinger for Gold Coast Bulletins
SEEK A PEEK
Cashing an ace to see partner’s signal would have saved East on this deal from a National Teams Event:
West led the 6 against 4. East won with the A, South playing the 9. To seek three more tricks, East had to decide whether to play West for the A or the K (and a club ruff). West could have one of those cards but not both, in view of South’s 1NT. East elected to hope for the A and shifted to the 2. Declarer finessed, drew trumps ending in hand and led a club. He lost just one heart and two clubs for +620.
Since partner can hold only one of the vital cards, East should play the §A at trick two. If West discourages, East can shift to the 2 next. If West encourages clubs, West cannot have the ²A as well and so East will continue clubs and must hope that West has precisely three clubs.
Playing high-encourage, West would play 10 and East would be in no doubt that West wanted clubs. The cards lie badly if you are playing low-encourage. East shifts to the A and West’s lowest is the 7. If South follows with the §8, East could easily take the 7 as highest from 7-3-2 and switch to the 2 with a disappointing outcome.