ACES ON BRIDGE
In today’s auction, when South bids clubs and then shows spades, North can bid two diamonds, the fourth suit setting up a gameforce. South’s noncommittal call of two no-trump is the least lie, suggesting a minimum balanced hand with a diamond stopper -though a raise to three diamonds might also show this hand.
When North sets spades as trump, South contents himself with a simple raise to game to conclude the auction, and West’s trump lead is best for the defense.
South can try to establish one trick in hearts, one in diamonds, and two in clubs. He therefore needs six trump tricks to make the contract. He can make them by ruffing twice in the dummy and winning his own four trumps, or by ruffing twice in his hand and then winning dummy’s four trumps. Either method will work, provided that South doesn’t draw more than two rounds of trumps in all.
South must cash his winning cards in the side suits first, and he also needs to set up a heart trick as part of the plan. Hence, he wins the first trump in his own hand and leads a heart at once.
West wins with the heart ace and leads a second trump. South must not draw any more trumps or allow the enemy to do so. He cashes his top heart, then his minor-suit aces and kings. Now he can ruff diamonds in the dummy and hearts in his hand to bring in the required total of 10 tricks.
ANSWER: Not all eight-counts are worth an invitational call facing an opening bid of one no-trump. However, this one is not only worth an invitation, I’d be inclined to transfer and drive to three no-trump, especially at teams, to let my partner choose between games. It isn’t just the heart intermediates; it is the fact that you have a likely re-entry to reach your winners, even facing a doubleton heart.
“Honest bread is very well -- it’s the butter that makes the temptation.”
-- Douglas Jerrold