Bid what you have to bid — confidently
Julian Fellowes, in a script for “Downton Abbey,” wrote, “Lawyers are always confident before the verdict. It’s only afterwards they share their doubts.”
At the bridge table, try to ooze confidence. In today’s diagram, look at the South hand. West opens two spades, and East raises to four spades. What should South do?
The right bid is clear-cut, although it will not necessarily result in the bestpossible result. South must bid five hearts. Maybe it will turn a plus against four spades into a minus; or it might end the bidding and miss a slam, East having raised with several spades and few points.
At 11 of 16 tables in a duplicate, five hearts was passed out. How did South plan the play after West surprisingly led a trump, and East discarded the spade seven?
At this stage, South was not sure of the fate of four spades or five hearts. Usually, when West does not lead a spade here, it means that he has the ace. So, declarer drew trumps and exited with his spade, hoping West would be forced to open up one of the minors.
However, East took the trick and would have done best to shift to a diamond. Here, though, he led a club. West won with his king and returned the suit. Now South hoped to escape for down one. Just in case West started with 6-3-13 distribution (although he probably would have led his singleton), declarer won the second club in his hand, played a club to the jack and led a diamond to his king to escape for down one and get a near-top. (Most declarers went down two, and one South made four hearts.)