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
South West North East
1♥ Pass 2♣ Pass
2♥ Pass 4♥ 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 to this hand was just to remember the auction.
East’s opening bid gave South all the information he needed to succeed.