This hand occurred in a club teams contest. North’s rebid of 3H is a mini- splinter bid and agrees spades but does not imply any extra values. This is possible since 2H would have been a reverse and so forcing for one round. West led the queen of clubs. Declarer took the trick with dummy’s ace and cashed the ace of trumps, pleased to find that the suit was not 4- 0. Now he could count at least four trump tricks and three tricks in the minors. As ruffing two hearts would bring the total to only nine tricks when the trumps were not 2- 2, he set about establishing the diamond suit. He continued with ace, king and another diamonds. When East followed, declarer was about to ruff the trick with a low trump when the thought occurred to him, “If I ruff this, what will happen if West has three trumps and only two ? diamonds?” The answer was, “West will overruff with the spade ten, cross to partner’s hand with the king of clubs and a fourth round of diamonds will promote West’s queen of spades.”
Teams, EW vul, Dealer North
The solution to this problem came to declarer after a moment’s thought. He could avoid this fate by discarding his losing club. If East could play a diamond then declarer would ruff low and the defenders could take at most two more tricks. At the table, East tried to cash the king of clubs, which declarer ruffed. Next, a low heart was conceded and the defenders were without recourse. East won and played another club. Declarer ruffed, played a trump to the ace and ruffed a diamond with the jack of trumps, establishing a long card in the suit. All West could take was the queen of trumps. Of course, declarer should have ducked the opening lead of the club queen and won the continuation, whatever it was. He could then draw one round of trumps and play a heart and be completely safe on the lie of the cards. The technique of playing one trump with this holding should be noted. Try drawing two trumps and see what can go wrong.