THE NO. 1 INDEPENDENT BRIDGE MAGAZINE
If you have a budding expert on your gift list, or wish to give yourself a present, get a subscription to The Bridge World magazine (bridgeworld.com). The material aims primarily at serious tournament players, but there are articles and quizzes for the budding expert. In this deal, look only at the North and West hands. Against four hearts, West leads the spade ace: five, two, four. How should he continue? What happens in four spades? North responded with one forcing no-trump; but even in Standard, one nonforcing notrump would have been a sensible response. However, when North learned of two eight-card fits, he jumped to game; and usually a 4-4 fit is preferable to a 5-3. West knows that East started with a singleton spade. But he should not cash the spade king, which would give up control. Instead, he leads the spade eight, his higher spot-card being a suitpreference signal for diamonds. Assuming East ruffs and shifts to a diamond, that establishes four tricks for the defenders: two spades, one diamond and the ruff. Four spades goes down if West leads a diamond (likely) and defends accurately after that. Suppose South takes the second diamond with dummy’s ace and plays a trump. West wins and leads another diamond to tap the declarer’s hand. When South plays a spade toward the nine, West must duck that. Then, if declarer leads a third trump, West wins and plays a fourth diamond, which South ruffs with his last trump. Or, if declarer abandons trumps, West ruffs the third round of hearts. In each scenario, the defenders get three spades and one diamond.