Playing online Tuesday night with Kate, I held:
♠A Q J 4 3 ♥J 8 6 2 ♦A 8 2 ♣Q.
With both sides vulnerable, there were three passes to me and I opened 1♠. Both opponents were silent, and partner bid 2♣. In our methods, this showed invitational values and three-card spade support. What would you do?
The singleton ♣Q may not be worth much, and I suppose I should have re-invited. Bidding 2♥ doesn't promise extra, however, and has the disadvantage presenting a revealing auction, making it easier for the defense.
Playing online in a short match (this was a 12-board mini-tournament), it pays to take the agressive route.
If you were driving a Mercedes Benz on the German Autobahn, would you go 55 or would you step on the gas? When I got out of college (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth), I travelled in Europe for several months. While hitchiking, I was picked up by a German, and he was driving a Mercedes (it purred like a kitten), and it was, indeed, on the autobahn. At one point, I looked at the speedometer and saw he was going 160!! Later, I realized that it was kilometers, so "only" 100 mph.
I don't have a Mercedes, but I can drive fast too, and so I bid 4♠.
West led the ♠8. Here are all four hands (rotated):
♠ K 10 2
♥ A 9 5
♦ K J 6
♣ 8 7 6 4
♠ 8 7 ♠ 9 6 5
♥ Q 10 7 4 ♥ K 3
♦ Q 7 4 ♦ 10 9 5 3
♣ A J 9 2 ♣ K 10 5 3
♠ A Q J 4 3
♥ J 8 6 2
♦ A 8 2
When I checked the results later, many declarers went set. They won the opening lead, were in a hurry to draw trumps, then gave the contract some thought. Wrong. Go slower. Do your thinking at trick one.
I could see I had a club loser and two heart losers (barring a miracle). Therefore, I assumed the diamond finesse would work. That would be three losers, but how many winners did I have? I had five spades, three diamonds and (most likely) only one heart trick. But wait, maybe I could ruff a heart in the dummy, even after this pesky trump lead.
I led a heart to the 9 (maybe ace is safer), and East won with the ♥K and returned the ♥3. I took the ace, and led a third round. East ruffed this, and the contract was cold. Ruffing was a thoughtless play -- if I had the ♥Q, I wouldn't have played this way.
At first it looked like East could lead another trump at trick three. Then when West wins the heart continuation, he could underlead his ♣A to allow East to win and lead a third round of trumps. Deep finesse says the contract is always cold, however, and I'll let you figure out how I could have countered this defense.
For bidding and making 4♠, we gained 5.33 IMPs. This deal was played 77 times and 18 declarers went set in 4♠. Three declarers were in the ha-ha 6♠ contract. A few were in spade partials, and one brave pair bid and made 3NT. If you don't believe me, you can check all the results here.