This week’s deals focus on the importance of counting your tricks as declarer. To test yourself, cover the East-West cards. Against four hearts, West leads the deuce of spades. How do you proceed?
You have six trump tricks, two diamonds and a spade, and you have time to ruff your third club in dummy. When you can count 10 tricks, make sure you take them. Grab the ace of spades and lead a club to your queen. West wins and shifts to a trump. You win, concede a second club, win West’s trump return in your hand and ruff your last club in dummy.
Then you can come to the king of diamonds to draw the last trump and take the ace of diamonds. Making four.
In real life, declarer finessed with dummy’s queen on the first spade, and East won and shifted to a trump. Declarer couldn’t recover. He conceded two clubs, but the defense got to lead trumps twice more, stopping a ruff in dummy, and declarer had no other chance for a 10th trick.
Question: You hold: ♠ 76 ♥ AKJ874 ♦ K2 ♣ J 7 3. Your partner opens one diamond, you respond one heart, he bids one spade. Now what?
Answer: A jump to four hearts might work, but if partner has a low singleton heart and good values elsewhere, you might belong at 3NT. A jump to three hearts would be ideal if forcing, but most pairs treat it as invitational. Bid two clubs, the “fourth suit,” merely asking your partner to make another descriptive bid.