bridge sealing the contract

If in match-play you are in a contract of Four Hearts, your main aim in life ought to be to maximise your chances of making 10 tricks. An overtrick or two might be very nice, but such luxuries are of relatively little importance compared with the vulnerable game.

In today's deal, South opened One Heart and North's reply of One No- trump left him with a rebid problem. A raise in no-trumps was a possibility, but would not communicate the idea of a good six-card major, while rebidding the hearts might suggest that his hand was unsuitable for no-trumps. Do the hyper-modernists have a case when they suggest that a rebid of Two Diamonds is a transfer which shows extra heart length?

Eventually, South settled for the slight underbid of an invitational Three Hearts, and North, with a maximum and a fair fit, raised to game.

West had an easy lead of the king of clubs against Four Hearts, and it did not take declarer long to take the decision to win with the ace and start on trumps. A heart to the king and a heart back exposed the bad news and, after taking his ace, declarer got to work on the diamonds. The losing club went away but, when West ruffed the third round of diamonds, there were still two spades to lose, as well as the queen of trumps.

It looks a rather unnatural play, but try the effect (after winning the opening lead) of cashing just the ace of trumps before starting on diamonds. As before, West can ruff the third round, but the king of trumps is still there as an entry to dummy, and another loser goes away while West makes his second trump trick.

Game all; dealer South


4J 7 4

!K 2

#K Q 10 2

26 5 4 2

West East

410 9 4K Q 8 3 2

!Q 10 6 5 !4

#5 3 #9 8 7 6 4

2K Q 10 9 7 2J 8


4A 6 5

!A J 9 8 7 3

#A J

2A 3