The vulnerability makes an opening bid by the dealer a good choice. Having the 4-4-4-1 distribution, most North players will open the hand one diamond. Once the heart fit is found, North will bid the game.
West led the nine of clubs, East played the king, and declarer won with his ace. Declarer led the Jack of clubs, West covered with his queen, and declarer trumped in dummy. The Jack of hearts was led, and East ducked — as did declarer. The 10 of hearts is played from the dummy, and if East covers, declarer will lead a spade. West takes his ace, or declarer can cash four rounds of diamonds to discard a spade, ruff a club and lead another spade. If East ruffs high, declarer tosses a club; if East ruffs low, declarer over ruffs and holds East to only one trump trick, making six, and leads another spade.
If East does not split his trump honors, declarer might come to a diamond and lead a spade. Four diamonds to discard a club and a spade again from the dummy will do bad things to East’s trump holding.
When this hand was played this summer in Bellaire, Mich., many pairs did not bid game when North did not open. Some tried three notrump for an average result. Two East players with their trump holding doubled the four-heart contract and suffered the result.
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.”
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