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When you hold 5-5 in the black suits, your opening bid always presents something of a problem. On this deal from match play the two Norths chose different approaches and their results were very much at variance.

At one table, North scientifically opened 12 but now East was able to join in the action with 1#. South bid 1! and West raised to the limit with 5#. After two passes, South doubled but this did not prove a triumph. After taking the trump finesse and the double finesse in spades, East ended with 12 tricks and a score of 950 points.

At the other table, North opened 14 (although he would have had an awkward rebid over a response of 2#) and this kept East quiet. South responded 2! and, after a pass by West, North raised to game. West led #A against 4! (not a happy choice) and it looked as though declarer was in comfort.

He ruffed the lead with !A, cashed the king, and followed with the jack. When East showed out, South lazily allowed the jack to win and attempted to come to hand with a top club. Disaster! West ruffed, put his partner in with a spade, and collected a second club ruff.

It was still a big plus for his team but South could have made it a bigger one by ensuring his contract. He should have overtaken !J with his queen (at the expense of a trump trick), cashed !10 and followed with 2A. Now the defenders can only come to two spades and a trump.

E-W game; dealer North


4Q J 4 3 2

!A K J


2K 7 6 4 2

West East

49 8 6 4A K 10

!8 7 6 5 !9

#A J 10 4 3 2 #Q 9 8 7 6

2none 2J 8 5 3


47 5

!Q 10 4 3 2

#K 5

2A Q 10 9