North South Vulnerable

North South Vulnerable

Five card support falls short of game

Play Bridge

The bidding:

South, with 13 HCP and five spades, opens one spade. North has eight high card points and a singleton. North values the singleton as three points and hopes partner has few wasted values in diamonds. This should be enough for a limit raise and North bids three spades. South passes with his minimum.

Because of the five-card support, there is no fear of running out of trump to ruff from trump leads. There is also no fear of opponents finding a heart contract. Spades is the boss suit.

There is no need to jump to four to go down. Instead North bids three spades to invite.

The contract: Three spades by South

The opening lead:    The jack of hearts

The play:

Declarer wins the ace of hearts, draws trump and then plays the four of diamonds. Seeing the King and Jack in the dummy, East may hope that declarer will play the jack to be won by partner’s queen, but East suspects declarer has a singleton and wins the ace. East wins two hearts and switches to a club.

Declarer loses two hearts, one diamond and two clubs.

The result: Three spades down one for -100


If North has a singleton heart, there are no wasted honours and four spades makes. Three points for a dummy singleton is just a rough guideline. It should be noted that on a club lead, with East ducking the diamond, five spades can be made.

Furthermore, I have no problem with North bidding four spades. I just believe two spades or three spades should always be considered when holding the highest ranking suit.

If one can accurately bid one’s hand to maximize the point reward and to keep the opponents from taking the auction, one has succeeded.