The bidding: South, with 11 HCP’s and a seven-card suit, opens one heart. West has a good hand with good support for the unbid suits and finds a takeout double. North jumps to three clubs which is a Bergen raise.
Three clubs, three diamonds or three hearts are Bergen raises that show four-card support. Three clubs is a constructive raise of eight or nine points, three diamonds is a limit raise and three hearts is weak.
Bergen raises are good because they jam the auction and do not risk a large penalty because of the nine-card fit. The Law of Total Tricks tells one to compete to the three-level with a nine-card fit. I prefer minisplinters to Bergen raises, but I recognize the merits of Bergen raises.
Not wishing to be in game, South takes the constructive raise to three hearts.
The Lead: Ace of spades, a natural lead showing the ace and king.
The play: Declarer discards a club on the opening lead to prevent East, the danger hand from gaining the lead. East is the danger hand because if East is allowed to lead a diamond, declarer will be defeated.
West has probably only one safe exit card, a club, so he cashes the Ace of trump and exits a club. Declarer cashes the top two clubs and ruffs a club, thus eliminating clubs from both his hand and dummy’s hand. He ruffs a small spade and then goes back to dummy and plays the queen of spades, pitching a diamond.
West is end played. He must play a diamond for South or give South a sluff and a ruff because he no longer has a safe exit card.
Result: Declarer loses two spades, one hearts and a diamond making three hearts for +140.
– If South wins the opening lead, he will go down one.
-Even though South only has 11 HCP’s, he is better than a light opening because a light opener would not make three hearts opposite a mere eight or nine points.
-Get ready for the Trail Sectional tournament this July 4th to the 6th.