North South vulnerable

North South vulnerable

Stayman in competition

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The bidding: South, with a balanced 17 points, opens one notrump. West makes a venturesome two spade, not vulnerable, overcall.  North has something useful to say because he has ten points and a four card major. North makes a cuebid, which is Stayman. South does not have four hearts and bids three notrump. Each hand has a spade stopper so the contract should be safe.

Passed hands do not often overcall one notrump. However, without any help from partner, West will be down three doubled for -500. This is a good board even without partner’s ace of diamonds.

The contract: 3NT by South

The opening lead: The queen of spades

This is a natural lead of the top of a sequence.

The play: South has five tricks and needs to knock out two aces to make. This is not a problem because East has no spades left to return to his partner. He will make eleven tricks. This seemed very unlikely because West should have the two aces for his bid.

The result: 3NT by South making plus two for +660

Notes: If two spades were doubled, North and South would get +300 points. This is not a very good board for North and South because it is less than their vulnerable game.

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