TODAY you have two declarer play problems that you may rate as a light workout. On deal one you have to figure out where your tenth trick is coming from.
But first the bidding. The jump to three hearts is an addition to the Bergen Raise structure that has a following in this country. Over a major suit opening, a jump response in the other major shows three-card support for partner’s major along with invitational values. This left South with a close decision. He might well have signed off in three spades but in the end he decided to follow the modern mantra of when in doubt, bid game.
West leads the queen of hearts. How would you go about delivering on South’s promise?
You can count nine tricks. Normally you’d try to set up a side suit for the extra trick but that’s not much use here. The minute you lose the lead the opponents will grab four tricks by way of two hearts and two clubs.
Instead, you must put dummy’s trumps to work. You should plan to make your tenth trick by trumping a heart in dummy. This calls for the delaying of the drawing of trumps.
Win the first trick with the ace of hearts and immediately cash the ace and queen of diamonds. Return to hand with a trump in order to cash the king of diamonds, pitching a losing heart off dummy. Next you lead a heart. Now nothing can prevent you from trumping a heart in dummy for your tenth trick. Even one early round of trumps would have doomed your contract.
On deal two you have to figure out who has the ace of diamonds in order to make an overtrick. It is a good example of the sort of West — pass all pass North — 3 East — pass South 1 4 thinking that is well rewarded in card play.
After a normal Stayman auction, you find yourself in three notrumps with nine certain tricks. West leads the six of spades. You duck to East’s jack. East continues with the queen of spades to dummy’s ace while West plays the three. You take your four heart tricks followed by your four club tricks to secure your contract.
Everyone is down to three cards and you are thinking about making an overtrick with the king of diamonds. On the run of the winners, West threw two spades so you exit with a spade to his remaining winner. West takes this and plays a low diamond. The big question is do you play West to have the ace or queen?
The answer lies in West’s discarding. If West held the ace of diamonds he would naturally keep two winning spades so you should play low from dummy on the diamond lead, expecting West to have the queen of diamonds not the ace. It duly happens and you make an overtrick for a top board. Paul Marston