The Dallas Morning News
ACES ON BRIDGE
Last month, I mentioned in passing that while attitude signals worked to give partner your opinion as to whether to continue with the suit led or to shift, there might still be occasions when you would encourage partner’s lead even if you didn’t like the suit all that much.
The best reason for doing that is that you know you fear the consequences of partner’s shift if you discourage his lead. Let us look at where we want to avoid partner making the “obvious” switch.
Playing a five-card major system, South opens one heart, West overcalls one spade, North bids two spades to show at least a limit raise in hearts and South bids four hearts.
When West leads a top spade, your systematic play would be the two, but do you really want partner to play a diamond, which is his most probable switch if you discourage spades? You are better off encouraging a spade continuation (before the rats get at it), and allowing partner to collect his diamond winners (if any) in the fullness of time.
The point here is that even if partner were psychic enough to shift at trick two to a club, not a diamond, declarer would then dispose of his second spade loser on the clubs and make his contract in a different way. From partner’s perspective, a diamond might be essential if declarer were about to build a discard on clubs and spades. His hand might be a 2=6=3=2 shape with the top hearts, diamond ace and club jack. Answer:
As 14-counts go, your hand could hardly be any better; indeed, I could not imagine stopping out of game. The real concern might be that you would miss slam here, since the right 10-count opposite could make 12 tricks a formality. A jump by you to five clubs should be a splinter, setting diamonds as trump and letting partner evaluate his assets as best he can.