Shape and fit equal extra tricks
Alexander Calder, who was particularly well-known for mobiles, which he invented, said, “I paint with shapes.”
Bridge players upgrade their hand’s value when it has a fit with partner and good shape.
Look at the North hand in today’s diagram. After two passes, East opened one club, South overcalled one heart, and West passed. What would have been your bidding plan with that North hand?
Being a passed hand helps North because South will not expect a moose opposite. But the three-card heart support, singleton club and useful diamond suit make this hand worth a strong game-invitation. (Losing Trick Count addicts will note that the hand has only seven losers: three spades, two hearts, one diamond and one club. This would in principle justify a game-force opposite an opening bid.)
North should bid two clubs, a cue-bid raise showing heart support and a maximum pass.
At the table, South, with eight losers, rebid two hearts. Then, though, North continued with three diamonds. This was sufficient for South, who jumped to four hearts.
West led a club. (Yes, perhaps he should have found the lethal trump lead.) East won with her queen and shifted to the heart seven. How should declarer have continued?
South took West’s 10 with dummy’s king, crossed to the diamond king, ruffed a club, played a spade to the ace, trumped the club jack, took the diamond ace-queen for a spade pitch, ruffed the last diamond, cashed the heart ace and claimed. Declarer lost one spade, one heart and one club.