I continue a series on protecting your partner from error. The easiest way to help is to signal intelligently.
Today’s East-West had bid and raised spades, so West led the ace against three hearts. Since East didn’t like spades, he played the three. That helped West not at all.
Unsure which minor suit to shift to, West led another spade, hoping dummy’s king would not provide declarer with a useful discard. But declarer threw a diamond, picked up the trumps, and lost two diamonds and a club. Making three. PREFERENCE West needed help. From his vantage point, a shift to either minor could have been right — or wrong. Since East has a preference for diamonds, he must play the queen on the first spade as a suit-preference signal: his highest spade to show strength in the higher-ranking side suit.
If West shifts to a low diamond, the defense takes the ten, king and ace. Then any lead by East — for instance, the 13th diamond to promote a trump trick — beats the contract. DAILY QUESTION You hold: ♠ A J 10 8 2 ♥ Q 6 ♦ K 9 2 ♣ K 8 7. Your partner opens one heart, you respond one spade and he rebids two hearts. What do you say? ANSWER: You have the values for game. Partner’s rebid promises a six-card or longer suit — he would never be compelled to rebid a fivecard suit here — so to jump to four hearts would be reasonable. Since your hand is balanced, bid 3NT. If partner’s hand is distributional, he can insist on a suit contract. West dealer Both sides vulnerable