West was on the right track in the defence to Four Hearts on this deal but he missed the best way of communicating his intentions to his partner.

North opened 1#, South responded 1! and North raised to 2!. In spite of having only three-card support, this looked more practical to him than rebidding 1NT. Certainly it was just what South wanted to hear and he jumped directly to game.

West led the 2Q against Four Hearts and was allowed to hold the trick. It was clear to him that the defence could come to at most two natural club tricks, but how should he continue? One possibility was to play his partner for a doubleton club, but West tried another tack. At trick two, he led 22, not the jack. Dummy played low and East was forced to win with his ace.

East could appreciate that his partner had done something odd in the play of the clubs, for a player who has led from, say, Q,J,x,x,x would normally follow with the jack (in case declarer had started with 10,x).

Clearly there were only two tricks coming from clubs, and, equally clearly, West was very keen for his partner to get the lead. Unhappily, East decided that his partner held 4A and pushed through 4Q. Now the contract could not be broken.

Holding the !A, West should not have been in such a hurry to put his partner in. If he leads 49 on the second trick, and defers his play of a low club until he gets in with the ace of trumps, he leaves his partner in little doubt as to what he should do for the best.

Game all; dealer North


47 5

!K J 10

#A Q 9 7 3

2K 6 3

West East

49 8 6 4 3 4Q J 10 2

!A 3 2 !6 5

#none #10 6 5 4

2Q J 10 9 2 2A 7 5


4A K

!Q 9 8 7 4

#K J 8 2

28 4