Playing in the monthly club championship you are having a steady game with your regular partner. A victory might be imminent with a few more good boards, and you pick up this hand as South:
What is your opening bid?
Dont worry about not having a stopper in spades. With a balanced hand it is desirable to show your point count. Partner responds 2 (Stayman) and the opponents pass throughout.
Of course. This denies a four-card major. Surprisingly, partner continues with 3 . Has he lost his mind?
What do you bid now?
Partners bid is game forcing and shows a real diamond suit. Rather than raise to 4 (which takes you beyond 3 NT) you should bid the major suit you have stopped. (This cannot be a four-card suit because of your 2 bid). Partner next bids 4 .
Partners bid shows club control (usually the ace). You have a nice hand for him, but lacking control in spades you cant go to slam. This bid emphasizes your heart control. Partner is encouraged and jumps to 6 , which you pass.
Oops! You were just about to lay down the dummy, but it turns out that you will be declarer since you bid diamonds first.
West leads the 7, and partner puts down a respectable hand for his bidding. This is what you see:
How many top tricks?
Which suit offers the best chance to make your contract?
Will you finesse in clubs?
You cover the 7 with the eight and capture Easts nine with the ace.
Which card do you lead?
Both follow with a low diamond.
Which card do you lead next?
You win the Q in dummy, and East discards the 5.
Now is the time to start the clubs. Both follow.
You win this with the king (both follow but the queen does not drop).
Which suit do you lead next?
West plays the 10 and you ruff in dummy as East discards the 2.
This gives you an entry to hand and draws Wests last trump in the process.
Which suit next?
West plays the queen, you ruff in dummy, and East pitches a heart.
Here is whats left:
How many sure winners do you have in the ending?
Is your contract assured?
Apply the pressure! East discards the K, you the 7, and West the 3.
What do you lead next?
East plays the 6, you win the king, and West discards the 6.
Which card do you lead now?
West discards the 9, North the 9, and East the A.
Excellent! This is good because East was forced to throw both high spades to protect hearts. You win all the tricks for a top board and go on to win the championship.
An original spade lead would stop the overtrick, but 6 was always there by establishing the long club. The missing hands:
© 1998 Richard Pavlicek