Source: ACBL Bulletin December 2016 BY MIKE LAWRENCE
Dlr: West Vul: N-S
(1) Support double, showing three hearts.
North knew he had to act once South bid spades, so he raised them. But how should North do that?
There are several choices, and I’ve seen players do all of the following in similar situations. There’s 2, showing 6-10 support points. There’s also 3, showing 9-11 support points. And 2 is possible, a cuebid, showing 10 or more support points. Which of these choices is best?
The North hand wasn’t worth 10 points when West opened the bidding, and with both opponents bidding hearts, the North hand has gotten worse. North should raise spades, but 2 is adequate. The other two choices are pretty bad.
When North bid 2 , an overbid, East passed and South tried 3, expecting to find at least 10 useful points and perhaps more. North can pass, but if he has a good hand for his cuebid, he will bid game. North passed, as he should.
West led the K, on which East played the discouraging2. West switched to theK, East playing another 2. South let theK win. West switched again to the 5, which was a sane choice. This left South with limited options. If diamonds were 3-3, 3would make, but West opened 1, which makes a 3-3 split impossible. Here’s why.
The only time you open 1with three diamonds is when you have 4=4=3=2 distribution. West’s double of 1said he had three hearts, not four. Therefore West does not have three diamonds because he can’t have 4=4=3=2 shape. The defense is off to a good start and South can anticipate that the defenders will lead more trumps if he decides to try for ruffs in dummy. That plan produces just seven tricks: five spades, a diamond, and a club ruff.
Is there another option?
If South gives up on getting ruffs in dummy, there are six top tricks, and the remaining three might be available from dummy’s nice hearts. Is there any way South can get three heart tricks?
Oddly, there is. What’s more, it isn’t that farfetched. Here’s what declarer knows. West has the A K and the K Q. East bid 1, so he should have around 6 points. True, he might not, but it’s likely. Here’s where the 8 comes into play.
South wins the spade shift at trick three in his hand and leads the 8. West will play low. Instead of playing the jack or king, declarer plays the 9. If declarer’s view of the heart suit is right, and if he is a little lucky, East will have to win with the queen. If East continues with a trump, declarer wins in dummy, West following. Trumps are 3-2 which is necessary for this plan. Declarer continues with the K, East playing the ace. Declarer ruffs it and goes to dummy with the last spade entry to lead the J. When West follows with the 10, the hearts in dummy can be played from the top. Making nine tricks. If East returns a diamond when on lead with the Q, declarer can win the ace, go to dummy with a spade, and continue the line of play above.
Here is the entire deal: