Derogatory remarks like, How can you bid such a lousy suit? or even more cutting, Where did you learn how to bid? are often heard in the aftermath of an apparent bidding disaster. I say apparent, because sometimes the contract is quite reasonable, and it is the play which deserves comment.
When todays deal was over, South received quite a berating for jumping to three spades on 9-8-x-x after his partners takeout double of Wests weak two-bid. Surely, this was the cause of the poor result of down two.
Not really. Souths bidding, while aggressive, cannot be criticized and in fact would meet with expert approval. His play (which will go unmentioned) was the sole cause of the disaster. Four spades is a tricky contract, but should be made with proper technique and careful timing.
Wests opening lead is ruffed in dummy and declarer should immediately lead a low spade. Note that both major-suit aces are retained for controlling purposes later on.
The best defense is for West to win the king and shift to a diamond (else declarer can establish the club suit and avoid a diamond loser), which is ducked around to Easts king. East can do no better than return a trump to dummys ace.
Declarer then crosses to the diamond queen, cashes the club ace, and crosses to the club king. The diamond ace provides a parking place for Souths remaining club, and a club is ruffed in hand to establish the suit.
A heart is then ruffed with dummys last trump and a good club is led. As East ruffs with his master trump, South discards his last heart loser and claims the rest making four spades.
© 1985 Richard Pavlicek