McCook Daily Gazette – 24 Jul 2002

Opening Lead: Spade Queen

Peter Conrad an Australian author and critic, wrote. “Losing faith in your own singularity is the start of wisdom.”

When you are contemplating a suit slam, singularity a singleton — means that the opponents can win at most one trick in that suit. More dangerous is a doubleton. If you hold two immediate losers in an unbid suit, you should not wheel out Blackwood unless you are certain partner has a first- or second-round control in that suit.

For example, look at the South hand in the diagram. North’s three-no-trump response is, by partnership agreement, a game-forcing heart raise. (Perhaps you would have bid two no-trump. Jacoby or three hearts, old-fashioned.)

If South instantly uses Blackwood and hears a one-ace reply, he will not know whether the opponents do — or do not — have the ace and king of diamonds. Instead, South control-bids (cue-bids) four clubs. Then, when North shows a first-round diamond control, South can take over with Blackwood.

At first glance, the contract appears to depend upon one of two club finesses working. However, whenever you have A-Q-10 or A-Q-9, think elimination and endplay. Win trick one with your spade ace, draw trumps, cash the spade king. and take dummy’s diamond tricks. discarding the club two from hand. Now lead a club to your 10 (or queen). West wins with the Jack (or king), but is endplayed. He must either lead away from his remaining club honor or concede a ruff-and-discard.