Source: Why was I driving in the slow lane of the motorway? Simple. I was enjoying listening to two of my favourite half-hour radio programmes: “The Last Word” and (especially) Tim Harford’s wonderful “More or Less” (all about numbers – right up any Bridge player’s street) and didn’t want to arrive before the latter had finished. Dealer: South N/S Vul
6 A K 4 K 10 8 3 2 9 7 4 3
Q J 9 7 2 J 8 3 A 5 K J 8 10 8 4 3 Q 7 6 5 Q 6 Q 10 5
A K 5 10 9 2 J 9 7 4 A 6 2
West North East South
1 2 22 2NT 3
Pass 3NT 4 Pass Pass
  1. Playing Strong Notrump and 1, 1and 1all showing five+ cards.
  2. Might bid 3s – to the level of the fit – butthose queens look so junky.
  3. This shows a good Weak Notrump. Good evaluation from South with his two spade stoppers, his quick club trick and, most significantly, his diamonds with partner. He was to use the fact that he did not actually show his diamond length to full advantage in the play.
  4. Considers that partner was not forced to bid 2 NT given the interference, so is announcing a highly 3 NT – suitable hand.
Opening Lead Q Earlier in the year – it was a Friday afternoon in January – I headed to Oxford in the slow lane of the M40, planning to play a weekend of Bridge in the fast lane when I arrived. For it was the first of the two much anticipated Home Countries Camrose weekends. On this deal from England v Ireland, West led the queen of spades v the fast lane 3 NT. Declarer immediately won the ace, led the jack of diamonds at trick two and, when West played low, rose with the king (key play) and led back a diamond. The queen and the ace crashed together and declarer was soon claiming his 22-count vulnerable game: with two spades, two hearts, four diamonds and a club. Why had declarer played the diamonds in this manner – the percentage play is to run the jack? The point is this: West, not knowing declarer held diamond length, would likely have covered the jack of diamonds with the queen holding Qx, for fear declarer held Jx or Jxx (covering promotes partner’s A9(7x). So when West did not cover with the queen, declarer placed the queen with East. Here’s a variant on that same theme: Dummy  A 10 x x x You K J 9 x If you have not shown your diamond support, then play the suit by leading the jack, but, if West doesn’t cover (he likely will with Qx,even Qxx), rise with the ace and lead back to the nine. Don’t forget to follow us @