The Dallas Morning News
ACES ON BRIDGE
In today’s deal, North-South were playing two-over-one as game forcing. But in competition, North’s two-club call did not guarantee a second bid. Hence, South had to jump to three hearts to set up a force. Now North’s diamond holding persuaded him to try four hearts rather than try for three notrump. As you can see, reaching no-trump from South might have been the perfect outcome in teams, but in pairs the prospect for a 10th trick in hearts made North’s decision reasonable.
Put yourself in declarer’s position when West led the spade king against four hearts. See if you can find a better chance than simply finding the diamond ace onside. At the table, South ducked the opening lead, and East followed with the nine, playing reverse signals, thus suggesting a three-card suit.
West now decided that declarer was unlikely to have the club queen, or he would not have ducked the first trick, so he accurately shifted to the club jack. South took dummy’s ace, cashed the heart ace, then made the critical play of leading the spade jack, ducking in dummy when West covered.
The best West could do was win and play a second club. Declarer won dummy’s king, threw his third club on the spade ace and ruffed a club high.
Now he could draw trumps ending in dummy, then cash the long club to pitch a diamond. At this point, he had 10 tricks without relying on a favorable diamond position.
Answer: These days, the majority of pairs play direct jumps by responder on his second turn as invitational. After this start, really strong hands will use new minor (here, a call of two clubs as a Stayman equiv- alent) to set up a force. That being so, a jump to three diamonds should be this sort of hand: a shapely invitation interested in game in diamonds or spades.