Improve Your Play

By Larry Matheny
Fort Collins, Colorado


While aggressive bidding is often rewarded, players must realize their actions provide valuable information to the opponents. Here is a hand from a recent teams game.


♠7                          ♠Q98
♥QJ543                  ♥109876
♦83                        ♦1092
♣A10532                  ♣98


South   West      North    East
2♣       Pass      3♦          Pass  
3♠       3NT      4♠         Pass
4NT     Pass      5♦          Pass
6♠       Pass      Pass       Pass

Opening Lead: ♣A
Bidding: North jumped to 3♦ to show a good suit. After South bid spades, West decided to tell everyone he had the two unbid suits. North/South continued to the spade slam.
Play: West led the ♣A and continued with a second round. Declarer reflected on the auction and felt West must have ten plus cards in the round suits. Accordingly, he cashed the ♠A followed by a heart to dummy. Next, he led the ♠10 for a successful finesse. He then claimed twelve tricks.
At the other table North/South ended in 6♦. This is a slightly better slam because the spade finesse is not needed. (A spade from dummy can be discarded on the ace of hearts.) Would 6♠ have succeeded without West shouting that he had ten or more cards in hearts and clubs? We will never know, but it’s likely declarer would have played for a 2-2 spade break.