None vulnerable

None vulnerable

Safety play proves to be the right way

The bidding:

South, with 23 high card points opens two clubs and rebids two notrump after partner’s waiting response.

The bidding:

South, with 23 high card points opens two clubs and rebids two notrump after partner’s waiting response. North with no need of transfers or Stayman bids game. Slam is not likely because the most points North and South could have is 32. They could be out two aces and without a long suit, North settles for game.

The contract: Three no-trump by South

The opening lead: The jack of spades

The play: South can count thirteen tricks if diamonds break two-two. The chances favour playing for the drop of the queen in a nine-card fit. However, that would jeopardize the contract unnecessarily.

The best play for three notrump is to hold up twice in spades and win the third spade trick. Now South cashes the ace of diamonds and finesses to the ten. This wins and declarer makes eleven tricks. If the diamond finesse lost, East would have no more spades to return. If East did have a fourth spade, West would not have a fifth spade to cash. The contract would be assured.

If South cashes the ace and king of diamonds, he will lose four spades and the queen of diamonds.

The result: Three no-trump making plus two for +460

Note: Without the safety play, one risks the contract so at the expense of overtricks one must hold up in spades.