May 13, 2022 – The Mercury News

North’s bid of four clubs was a “splinter,” showing a big spade fit, club shortness and slam interest. The idea was to let South judge how well the partnership hands meshed.

If South had held a hand with no wasted club honors — AQ 6 5 2, A 5 2, 5 4, 9 8 6 — he would have been encouraged. With his actual hand his, South signed off at four spades.

West led the queen of hearts, winning, and continued hearts.

Declarer ruffed the third heart and led a trump. When West played the ten, South cogitated and, for reasons unknown, put up dummy’s king. A second trump dropped the queen and ace together, and South claimed the rest, making four.


“Splinter bids” are useful, but even four spades might have been too high here. When South leads a trump at Trick Four, West can’t gain by playing low; if South has the queen, the defense can get only one trump trick.

West must rise with his ace and lead a fourth heart.

Whatever South does, East will score his queen of trumps for down one.


You hold: S 9 8 6 5 2 H 5 2 DQ 5 CKQ 10 9. Your partner opens one heart, you respond one spade, he bids two diamonds and you return to two hearts. Partner then bids two spades. What do you say?

ANSWER: Partner has a strong hand, probably with 3-5-4-1 shape; despite your weak two-heart preference, he bid again to try for game. If you held K 10 6 5 3, K 4, Q 5, 7 6 5 4, you could bid four spades. With your actual hand, your club honors are somewhat wasted. Pass.

North dealer

NS vulnerable


SKJ 7 4

HK 9 4

DAKJ 8 3



SA 10

HQJ 10 6 3

D 10 7 6 2

C 7 4


SQ 3

HA 8 7

D 9 4

CJ 8 6 5 3 2


S 9 8 6 5 2

H 5 2

DQ 5

CKQ 10 9

North East South West
1 D Pass 1 S Pass
4 C Pass 4 S All Pass

Opening lead — HQ

(C)2022 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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