Playing in a sectional swiss teams with my regular partner, I pick up as dealer:
 S:K94 H:93 D:AKQ5 C:J732
This is an easy 1D: opening bid. Partner responds 1S:, and I have some choices. The first choice to discard is 2C:. If partner takes a (possibly false) preference to 2D:, I shall have to bid 2S:. Bidding three suits opposite a minimum response should show extra values and a singleton in the fourth suit. Playing 2D: in a 4-2 fit does not suit me, either. That leaves 2S: and 1NT rebids. Normally, we do not raise responder's suit without four cards, but a three card raise is sensible with good trumps and a ruffing value. Since I do not see any advantage to declaring from my side, and because I do not like to bid notrumps with a small doubleton in an unbid major when there is a good alternative, I choose 2S:.

Partner is not done; he bids 3H:. This is a ``help suit'' game try. He wants me to evaluate my holdings in the major suits and bid game with a fitting hand. I have a minimum in high cards and could not have less in the majors, so I sign off in 3S:, which all pass. The bidding has been:

By the magic of reporting, I shall move to partner's seat for the play. The opening lead is the trump deuce, and I see:
S: K94
H: 93
C: J732
S: J10873
H: A1062
D: J7
C: K9
I am glad we did not bid a game. Even though the hands fit reasonably well, there could easily be two trump losers, one heart, and two clubs. I also need to take care of the two long hearts.

What is going on in trumps? West is either leading from only small trumps (ugh!) or possibly underleading the Ace. He would not lead from the Queen into a probable 4-4 fit, so I must play the King from dummy at trick one. It holds. So he has underled Ace third. He must be hoping to get in again with the H:K, intending to draw three rounds of trumps. Undoubtably, he has further strength in hearts to back up his King. I would like to encourage this plan, so I lead a low heart from dummy and cover East's five with the six. West wins with the seven (those things never work) and, smiling, cashes the Ace of trump. I am the one who gets to smile when it drops his partner's Queen. Only one trump loser! Somewhat chagrined, he continues with a third trump, denying me my heart ruff. Instead, I pitch both low hearts on good diamonds and lead towards the C:K, hoping for the Ace offside, which might create a swing for us. The King wins, though, and I score up an overtrick, to win 1 IMP on the board.

Copyright © 1992 Jeff Goldsmith