THE NEA BRIDGE by Phillip Alder
WHAT DO YOU RESPOND WITH GAME VALUES?
Yesterday, we looked at the Truscott two-no-trump response over an opponent’s takeout double after partner has opened one of a major. I said that it shows at least four-card support for the major and game-invitational values. But what does responder do with game-forcing cards — today’s North hand, for example?
There are two sensible solutions. You can still respond two no-trump, promising game-invitational strength or more. If opener signs off in three of his major, responder raises to game. Or, if you do not like the ambiguity, you can respond three no-trump. Discuss it with your partner.
In this deal, South would probably bid four spades over two no-trump, hoping that his singleton will prove useful.
Against four spades, West leads the queen of hearts. How should declarer plan the play?
First, South must count his losers. There are four: one in each suit. Next, he checks winners. There are five spades, two hearts, two diamonds and a club or two — enough to get home as long as the defenders do not take their four tricks first.
The careless declarer wins trick one and immediately plays a trump. However, West wins and returns a heart. Suddenly, South has those four unavoidable losers.
The more thoughtful declarer realizes he must do something about his heart loser immediately. So, he wins the first trick in his hand and leads a club. East takes dummy’s queen with his ace and returns a heart, but South wins on the board and discards his last heart on the club king. Then he draws trumps as quickly as possible.