When today’s three-no-trump contract was played, it took a major wake-up call by West to alert East to the necessity of switching defensive strategy.
After South’s offbeat choice of opening bids, West made the natural lead of his fourth-highest diamond. Dummy’s nine was inserted — a thoughtful deceptive play by declarer, who hoped to tempt a cover if East held the king — but East followed with the two, and the trick was won by South’s queen.
The lack of entries to dummy meant that declarer had little choice but to continue with the club ace, then another club, and now the spotlight switched to West. That player knew what the diamond position was, and he realized that East, upon getting in with the club king, would surely continue partner’s original attack of a diamond. However, West could see that declarer would then be able to take nine tricks one way or another. Time passed while West considered how to divert East’s attention to the need for a spade switch.
Eventually inspiration struck: West discarded the diamond king. There were a few anxious moments while East puzzled over this. But the message percolated through. Why was West discarding her best card from her best suit unless a switch was desperately needed? And why the king? Surely to direct attention to the higher-ranking suit, spades.
Eventually East emerged from his brown study with a spade. South tried the king, but to no avail, and the defense rattled off their five tricks.
Bid with the aces
|•J 7 6 5 2|
|•K 7 2|
|•7 3 2|
|1 •||Pass||2 •||Pass|
Answer: Jump to game in hearts. Partner has shown an ace more than an opening bid with good hearts. In context, you have superb heart support, a ruffing value, and a near-maximum in high cards for the auction thus far. So drive to game at once.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.