Show your suit or support partner?
Leigh Hunt, an English poet and writer who died in 1859, said, “If you are ever at a loss to support a flagging conversation, introduce the subject of eating.”
At the bridge table, you may wonder which topic to introduce first: support for partner or your own suit? Look at the North hand in the diagram. South opens one spade, and West overcalls two clubs. What should North do?
His choices (in the modern game) are a three-club cue-bid to show spade support and at least game-invitational strength, or two hearts to mention his own long suit.
Normally, I would recommend support with support, but this is such a good heart suit. Also, if it is a slam deal, mentioning that suit will surely help the auction flow more smoothly. Yes, if North “belatedly” agrees spades, South might expect only two-card support, but that will not always be the case.
In this deal, whichever North does, the final contract will surely be four spades — as it was at all 16 tables in a duplicate. What was the normal result?
West led his singleton diamond. Then it went either: diamond to the ace, club to the queen (or 10), club ace, club ruff (or overruff), diamond ruff and club ruff (dummy’s last diamond was discarded); or diamond to the ace, diamond ruff, club ace, club ruff, diamond ruff, club ruff (or overruff) — in both cases, the result being down three.
The game contract that might have gotten through was three no-trump. Double dummy, to defeat that, West must lead his diamond; East takes the trick and shifts to his club. The curious may work out the rest.