Neither vulnerable. South deals.
x 6 5
u 9 8 3
v Q 9 8 4 2
w Q 10 3
x Q 10 7 4 3 x 9 2
u 2 u K 10 4
v A 10 5 v K J 7 6
w K J 5 4 w 9 8 7 6
x A K J 8
u A Q J 7 6 5
v 3
w A 2
The bidding:
1u 1x Pass Pass
4u Pass Pass Pass
Opening lead: Four of x
Study the diagram above. Would you rather play or defend four hearts after the lead of the four of spades?
South's jump to four hearts on the second round was a slight stretch. Three hearts was perhaps a more realistic valuation of the hand.
Suppose you elect to declare. If trumps are 2-2, there is no problem. However, the percentages favor a 3-1 split, and you should try to cater to that. You win the first trick with the jack of spades, cash the ace and ruff a spade with the eight of hearts. East overruffs with the ten and shifts to a club. No matter how you proceed, you will still have to lose three more tricks -- one in each suit except spades.
But stick to your guns -- you should declare. Win the first trick with the jack of spades and continue with the ace and king, discarding a club from dummy. East ruffs and shifts to a club, but you can counter by rising with the ace and reverting to a spade and, instead of trumping, discarding your last club from dummy. Now you can ruff a club in dummy and the defenders score only one trick in each suit except clubs. A pretty version of a loser-on-loser play.
& copy; 2005 Tribune Media Services

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