The two-heart bid was a positive response to the twoclub opening bid, by showing a five-card suit. When North bids three clubs, South knows that Blackwood or Roman Key may not be helpful because of the void in hearts.
South’s five notrump bid is a grand-slam force asking his partner to bid seven clubs, holding two of the top three honors. (Famed bridge player Ely Culbertson first conceived this bid in 1936.)
Because it was a pairs event, South chose the higher ranking spade contract instead of the seven-club contract. But there was a slight problem. Seven clubs was almost a laydown, and seven spades had problems. How would you plan the play after the four of spades lead?
Before trying the diamond finesse, give yourself the chance of the ace of hearts falling. If you set up the king of hearts, you do not need the diamond finesse.
Win with the eight of spades, lead a low heart and ruff East’s Jack. Play the second spade to dummy’s 10 and ruff another heart. Next, cash the ace of clubs and lead the Jack of clubs, overtaking with dummy’s queen. When the clubs are 3-2, you have two more entries to dummy. Ruff a third heart, lead the 10 of clubs to dummy’s king and ruff a fourth heart. When the ace of hearts falls on the fourth round, play your two of clubs to dummy’s four and take the diamond finesse.
If clubs are 4-1 and the ace of hearts does not fall on the third round of hearts, cash the 10 of clubs and lead the two of clubs to dummy’s king, followed by the diamond finesse. Before resorting to a finesse for your contract, try to develop an extra trick somewhere so that the finesse is not needed.
Donna Swan is a resident of Longboat Key, an ardent bridge player and an American Contract Bridge League certified director who plays “for the fun of it.”
WHERE TO PLAY
Bayfront Park Recreation Center
Duplicate bridge games are at 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Contact Larry Auerbach at 758-2017 to reserve your spot.