Both vulnerable. South deals.


xK J 3

uK 9 8 5 4

vK 4

w8 7 2


x9 6 xQ 10 8 5 4

uQ J 3 uVoid

vQ J 8 v9 7 5 3 2

wA K J 5 4 w10 9 6


xA 7 2

uA 10 7 6 2

vA 10 6

wQ 3

The bidding:


1u 2w3w Pass

3u Pass 4u Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: King of x

The road to success at bridge lies in counting — points and distribution. No matter which method South employed on this deal, the outcome would have been the same.

North’s cue-bid of three clubs showed a limit raise or better in hearts. When South did no more than rebid hearts as cheaply as possible, North revalued his prime cards and, giving full weight to the fifth trump and no wasted values in clubs, decided he had enough to proceed to game.

West cashed the king and ace of clubs, East following with the six and ten, and continued with a third club, declarer ruffing. A simple hand developed complications when declarer led a low heart. West covered with the jack and East showed out after declarer played the king from dummy. With a sure heart loser, South had to find a way to avoid a spade loser as well.

The obvious way to accomplish that was to take the spade finesse but, before committing himself to that, declarer elected to find out more about the distribution. To that end, declarer cashed the king and ace of diamonds and ruffed a diamond on the table, both defenders following. The count of the hand was now complete.

The early play had marked West with five clubs and at least six cards in the red suits and, therefore, no more than two spades. Added confirmation of the fact that West could not hold the queen of spades was that West had already shown up with 14 high-card points. With two more, West would surely have overcalled one no trump.

The rest was easy. Declarer led a spade to the ace and a spade back. When the queen did not appear, declarer shot up with the king cashed the ace of hearts and exited with a trump to West’s queen. West was forced to return a club, allowing declarer to ruff in one hand while discarding a spade from the other. Four hearts bid and made.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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