Another deal with two faces
Abraham Lincoln said, “If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?” Last week, we had a deal with two faces; the result rested on West’s decision as dealer -- to open or not to open. Here is another, today for declarer and tomorrow for a defender. South is in four hearts. West leads the spade king. East overtakes with the ace and returns the suit. West takes that trick, cashes the club ace, and plays another club. How should South continue?
After West’s one-spade opening bid was passed around to South, he might have jumped to three hearts. In this balancing position, it would have been an intermediate jump overcall (not weak), showing at least a six-card suit and some 15-17 points. But it would typically have indicated a stronger suit than this one.
North’s three-heart raise was no thing of beauty, with a 10-loser hand, but with four-card heart support, it was hard to pass.
Declarer has surrendered three tricks, so must play the trump suit without loss. Whenever an opponent opens the bidding, declarer should always count the high-card points. In this deal, South can concentrate on either defender. First, East. He passed over one spade, denying six points. But he has already produced the spade ace; he cannot have the heart king. Next, West. There are only 17 points missing, and East has shown up with four. West must have the heart king. So, instead of taking the finesse (the right play in isolation), declarer cashes the heart ace and hopes that the king drops. It’s South’s lucky day.