Improve Your Play

Remembering the Auction

By Larry Matheny
Fort Collins, Colorado

Some hands are relatively easy to play while others require a lot of work. This one was a bit complicated, but declarer had a roadmap to succeed.

Dealer: East Vul: North/South


             West                                East
             ♠J98752                          ♠K4
             106                               K2
             Q52                              AJ107
             ♣83                                 ♣QJ752

South        West        North        East
1              Pass         2♣           Pass
2              Pass         4♥           Pass
Pass           Pass

Opening Lead: ♣8

North cue bid the opponents’ suit to ask about the strength of his partner’s overcall. After South showed a minimum, North had to be satisfied with just bidding game.

West led the ♣8 to dummy’s ace. The auction made it clear to South that the major suit kings and the A were in the East hand. That meant he couldn’t avoid losing one spade, one heart, and one diamond, so he had to avoid losing a club.

At trick two declarer led a low spade from dummy and East rose with the king. East continued with a high club to dummy’s ♣K. Declarer led a spade to his queen and then a heart back to the A. (It made no sense to take a heart finesse that was bound to lose.) Now he played the ♠A, East ruffed with the K, and declarer discarded his last club. East followed with a third club, hoping to promote a trump trick for his partner, but declarer ruffed with the Q.

Declarer now drew the last trump with the J, followed by a small heart to dummy’s 8. All that was left now was to lead a low diamond toward his K. Game bid and made.

The Key

The key to this hand was just to remember the auction.
East’s opening bid gave South all the information he needed to succeed.


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