One deal begat two game contracts
Mickey Hart, who is best known as a drummer for Grateful Dead, said, “In the beginning, there was noise. Noise begat rhythm, and rhythm begat everything else.” Today’s deal begat two interesting game contracts, four spades in a nine-card fit and four hearts in an eight-card fit. First, let’s look at four spades. (Tune in tomorrow for the discussion about four hearts.) After West leads the club queen to South’s ace, what should declarer do?
Note North’s rebid: Two spades was best. He might have gambled with one no-trump, treating the singleton king as if it were kingdoubleton (not a bad plan), but two spades was still preferable. (He couldn’t rebid two hearts, because that would have been a reverse and promised at least 17 points. Also, two diamonds would have been poor with such an unimpressive five-card suit.) Declarer has five possible losers: two spades (if they break 4-0), one heart and two diamonds. If trumps are 2-2, there is no problem, but if they are 3-1, South must guess diamonds correctly.
So, declarer cashes the top trumps to learn that he has a loser there. Then, before turning to diamonds, he should find out who holds the heart ace by playing on that suit. Here, West produces the ace and exits safely with a heart. Who has the diamond ace? It must be East because West has already produced nine points: the spade queen, heart ace and club queen-jack. If he had the diamond ace as well, he would have opened the bidding. Count those points!