This recent deal from an online practice session created quite a discussion between our opponents. North felt that South shouldnt bid such a pitiful spade suit yes, tying the worlds record many times over and South felt that North shouldnt make a jump raise with only three trumps. South was not happy having to play in a shaky 4 contract with nine cold tricks in notrump.
As West I led the K, won by the ace. Declarer could not get home by cashing two trumps and running the clubs, so he started by ducking a heart. East won the Q and returned a diamond, ruffed by South. Now there was just no way to get home: If declarer cashed two trumps, he would lose control; and if he did not, Easts 10 would come into play on the fourth round of diamonds.
Declarer has a sticky problem, but ducking the heart seems to be a weak effort as it loses a tempo to the defense. I think it is best (based on the North-South cards only) to lead clubs first. If they split 2-2, you will still have a problem; but whenever they are 3-1, you are in great shape (barring the unlikely event that the person who ruffs is short in trumps).
Suppose declarer leads clubs immediately and I ruff the second or third round. Declarer now can simply cash the top spades and continue clubs with complete control, eventually ruffing a heart in dummy as his 10th trick. If instead I refuse to ruff, declarer has three club tricks in the bag and can revert to crossruff lines and succeed.
But I wonder: Does this make it right to bid a 5-4-3-2 suit?
© 2008 Richard Pavlicek