Strong heart, high level decisions

John Nankervis opens the biddng with Leanne Munson, Sandra Head, and Angus Macdonald. Picture: CONTRIBTUED

Dealer: N Vul: Nil


♠ J9

♥ J108

♦ A1087

♣ AQ95


♠ Q105 ♠ AK8643

♥ 32 ♥ 94

♦ J9652 ♦ K4

♣ K107 ♣ 864


♠ 72

♥ AKQ765

♦ Q3

♣ J32

When one pair holds a strong spade suit and their opponents are strong in hearts, high-level decisions are often needed. North/South winners last Friday, John Nankervis and Leanne Munson, made the right call on Board 1 (above). John, sitting North, opened 1C, which showed a four-card suit. This was followed by 1S from East, 2H from South and 2S from W. The bids then alternated between hearts and spades until Leanne, South, was allowed to play in 4H which required ten tricks to be won.

West erred slightly by leading the Queen of spades. This won the trick and West continued with the five of spades to East’s King. East could not now give back the lead to West so that West could lead a diamond. Declarer could now win the next trick whatever continuation East chose. Now on lead, declarer could draw trumps in two rounds, finishing in hand. The Jack of clubs was played, searching for the King. If West played low, a small club could be played to the Queen. The Ace would fell the King, giving declarer a fourth club trick on which to discard a losing diamond. The top two spades remained East/West’s only winners.

At another table, East bid on to 4S, which was doubled. This failed by two tricks but cost only 300, as against the 450 made in hearts at other tables. When making choices at this level it is rarely profitable to bid on to the fifth level. Why risk failing by one trick when your opponents are in an unmakeable contract? On this occasion, however, continuing to 5H was the winning choice.

Results, Monday 27/05/24 (4 & ½-table Howell): J. Mobbs P; Kelly (61.1) 1; T. Hinde P. Campbell (59.0) 2; H. Price D. Moran (52.1) 3. Winners of Australia-Wide Novice Pairs heat M. Fox K. Barnett. Friday, 31/05/24 (5 & ½-table Mitchell) N/S J. Nankervis L. Munson (61.5) 1; N. Collins M. Simpson (54.5) 2; S. Head J. Loy (53.5) 3. E/W J. Mobbs T. Hinde (64.2) 1; C. Duggan M. Johnston (57.1) 2 eq. D. Moran N. McGinness (57.1) 2 eq.