Aiding partner

This week’s deals come from a past Swiss Pairs night at Trumps. On both deals, you must help partner find the winning defence.

On our first deal, most Easts bid 5D, some hoping to make, others as a sacrifice against a 4S contract. South leads the SK; how should the defence proceed? 

Dealer North, NS vul.

          NORTH 
          S A8653
          H QJ9743
          D J
          C 3
WEST                EAST
S 2                 S T74
H K6                H AT
D A643              D KQ9852
C J98762            C KQ
          SOUTH 
          S KQJ9
          H 852
          D T7
          C AT54

Several declarers made 5D but Eunice Foo, holding the North cards, found the winning approach of overtaking the SK with the SA in order to lead her singleton club. This made it clear what was going on so after winning the CA, it was an easy matter for South to return a club for Foo to ruff, for one down.

On the next deal, most tables made 4H with West declaring. What was the lead that allowed the contract to make? How could North avoid this lead?

Dealer West, nil vul.

          NORTH 
          S Q7652
          H 2
          D 84
          C AJT97
WEST                EAST
S AK3               S JT8
H AQ8753            H KT96
D T9                D K2
C 86                C K543
          SOUTH 
          S 94
          H J4
          D AQJ7653
          C Q2

Normally a sequence is a good lead but not the CJ – do not lead “away from an ace” (lead a lower card in a suit headed by the ace) on the opening lead against a suit contract. When your singleton is a trump, that is not a good choice either. Perhaps the best of a bad bunch is a low spade.

Unfortunately, a spade is the only lead to let the contract make. So, how to avoid this lead?

A diamond overcall from South would get the defence off to a better lead but after West opened 1H and East invited game by bidding 3H, most Souths were not prepared to come in at the 4-level.

At one table, however, after West opened 1H, East called 3D which was alerted as a Bergen raise, showing 4-card support for hearts and invitational strength (and saying nothing about diamonds). 

Double of an artificial bid is generally played as a penalty or lead-directing call, showing that suit. On this occasion, double by South of East’s 3D bid was a safe way to get partner off to a diamond lead and thereby prevent the opponents from making ten tricks in their heart contract.

What's On...

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