Opening lead: A.
Bidding commentary: As South, you can revalue your hand facing a takeout double. An unbid five-card major is worth one extra point, minimum. The K facing likely heart length and strength is worth an extra point. Don’t count anything for the J, a lonesome secondary honor in a suit bid by the opponents. All in all, your hand is worth at least 9 points, closer to 10 because of the strength of your spades. In any case, you have enough to make a non-forcing jump to 2, showing 9-11 revalued points, an important number to remember. As North, with 17 support points (one for the doubleton), you have enough to bid 4.
Defensive commentary: West starts with three top clubs and then the K.
Play commentary: As South, you must find the Q to make your contract. When you pull trumps, you find that West started with three spades. You know he started with three clubs (East followed three times), so he has a balanced hand. When an opponent has a balanced hand and doesn’t open 1NT or 2NT, that opponent must have 12-14 or 18-19 HCP. With 18-19, opener usually bids again. Assume 12-14 if opener remains silent. West has turned up with 9 HCP in clubs and figures to have the K Q for 14 HCP. Ergo, West doesn’t have the Q or else would have opened 1NT. After drawing trumps, lead a heart to the ace and run the J, intending to finesse if the queen doesn’t appear.
To remember: If opener starts with 1 or 1 and turns up with three cards in that suit, opener must have a balanced hand – no singletons, no voids and no five-card suit.
The full deal: