# Bid (and Play) Like Mike

 Dlr: East ♠ K 9 4 2 Vul: E-W ♥ Q 8 ♦ K 8 5 ♣ A 9 4 2 ♠ A Q J 3 ♥ A 9 6 5 2 ♦ — ♣ K J 10 8
 West North East South 1♥ 1♠ Pass 3♥(1) Pass 4♠ All Pass

(1) Good raise to 3♠

South was a devotee of the Mike Lawrence school of overcalling, which believes that length in an opponent’s suit is a plus, even with a four-card suit for the overcall! Put yourself in South’s seat on this deal. How will you take 10 tricks in spades after West leads the J?

## Solution

West’s lead suggested to declarer that hearts were 6-0. Declarer played low from dummy and East followed with the 6. Declarer’s main concern was the danger of losing a club to West; he would much rather lose one to East if he failed to guess who had the ♣Q. Also, he did not want to play on clubs before drawing trumps. This was the reasoning behind declarer’s slightly ostentatious move of winning the first trick with the ♠J. Declarer’s calculation was that this would not matter if trumps were 3-2 but doing so would give him more flexibility whenever West started with four trumps.

After cashing the ♠A and ♠Q, declarer played the ♠3. When West followed with the ♠7 declarer finessed dummy’s 9 and then drew West’s remaining trump with the king, discarding a heart from hand. As he was facing a problem at single dummy rather than double dummy, declarer now crossed to the ♣K and ran the ♣J as a form of avoidance play. East won with the ♣Q and exited with the ♣6, which was taken by declarer with the 10.

Declarer was confident that East had started with a 1=6=3=3 distribution and that he was left with three hearts headed by the king plus the A Q. A club to the ace forced East to let go of a red card and he chose the less costly option of a heart. Throwing the ♣Q instead would see declarer make an overtrick by playing a low diamond. This was the position:

 Dlr: East ♠ — Vul: E-W ♥ Q 8 ♦ K 8 ♣ — ♠ — ♠ ♥ — ♥ K J ♦ 10 9 7 4 ♦ A Q ♣ — ♣ — ♠ — ♥ A 9 6 5 ♦ — ♣ —

Declarer continued with the Q and played low from hand after East covered with king.

Rather than allow declarer to run the suit he had opened, East cashed the A and conceded the last two tricks. Declarer made four trumps, one heart, one diamond, one diamond ruff and three clubs.

Note that the endplay would have come earlier if East had started 1=6=4=2 shape and the ♣Q. On winning with that card, East would have been forced to lead away from the K or the A. The full deal:

 Dlr: East ♠ K 9 4 2 Vul: E-W ♥ Q 8 ♦ K 8 5 ♣ A 9 4 2 ♠ 10 7 6 5 ♠ 8 ♥ — ♥ K J 10 7 4 3 ♦ J 10 9 7 4 3 2 ♦ A Q 6 ♣ 7 3 ♣ Q 6 5 ♠ A Q J 3 ♥ A 9 6 5 2 ♦ — ♣ K J 10 8

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