ACES ON BRIDGE
One of the lessons we are all taught at our mother's knee is to retain control of the trump suit. But there are some deals where we go out of our way to surrender trump control. Although these hands may be few and far between, they possess an unmistakable elegance. Let me show you one of them in today's deal.
It might have worked better for South to double three hearts for takeout. North would have passed it out and led a trump, holding West to seven tricks. But, naturally, South bid spades, and North guessed to raise to game.
Against four spades, West led the heart king and shifted to the diamond five. With both diamonds and spades lying so unfavorably, you might think declarer would now have his work cut out.
Curiously, though, declarer has a road map of the lie of the hearts and can come to 10 tricks without a finesse. He wins the diamond ace, takes a heart ruff, then cashes the spade queen and leads a spade to the ace to take a second heart ruff. Now East is out of hearts, while South is out of trumps. Unperturbed, Declarer crosses to a top club and takes dummy's remaining top spade, then presses on with clubs.
East might as well ruff in, after which he does best to lead away from his diamond queen. South wins his jack and reverts to clubs to establish his 10th trick one way or another.
Answer: Your partner cannot have a single-suited diamond hand, or he would have acted on his second turn. You cannot commit to no-trump, or you might find yourself off the club suit; but are you supposed to raise diamonds to allow for a possible 5-3 spade fit, or jump to five clubs to show shortage and a slam try? I might do that if my heart queen were the king, but as it is, I'll just bid four diamonds.