ADVERTISEMENT

When I visited a publisher about a new book, a production staffer had this sign in his office:

“Blessed are the pessimists, for they have their files triply backed up.”

When a contract looks as easy as opening a letter, beware. At four spades, South took the ace of hearts and blithely cashed the A-K of trumps. He next led the queen of clubs. West won, cashed his high trumps and led another heart. South ruffed and took his clubs and top diamonds, but lost a diamond to East’s queen.

South must be a pessimist and cater to a bad trump break. At Trick Two he leads the queen of clubs. South ruffs the heart return (West could still prevail with a diamond shift), takes only the ace of trumps and continues clubs.

If West ruffs and leads another heart, South ruffs and takes the king of trumps. He can then lead more clubs, and West’s high trump wins the defenders’ last trick: South can pitch a diamond from dummy on the fourth club and ruff his low diamond in dummy.

You hold: ´ 8 6 4 3 2 ™ 4 © A K 5 ® K 10 9 3. Your partner opens one club, you respond one spade and he bids two diamonds. What do you say?

A: Partner has “reversed” and has substantial extra strength. Since you have three golden honors, fine club support and a singleton, slam is likely. A typical hand for partner such as A, A J 3, Q J 6 4, A Q 8 6 5 will produce a grand slam. Jump to four clubs to set the trump suit and invite him to cue-bid.

North dealer

N-S vulnerable

NORTH

´ A K 5

™ A J 3 2

© J 7 4

® Q J 6

WEST EAST

´ Q 10 9 7 ´ J

™ 10 9 8 7 ™ K Q 6 5

© 8 6 3 2 © Q 10 9

® A ® 8 7 5 4 2

SOUTH

´ 8 6 4 3 2

™ 4

© A K 5

® K 10 9 3

North East South West

1 NT Pass 2 ® Pass

2 ™ Pass 3 ´ Pass

4 ´ All Pass

Opening lead – ™ 10