Deals in Retrospect
“It’s been tough since I decided to start driving without a rearview mirror, but I haven’t looked back.” — graffiti

Dlr: North ♠ 10 2
Vul: N-S A K J
J 6 3
♣ A 10 5 4 3
♠ 8 5 ♠ Q J 9 7 6 3
10 8 7 6 9
K 10 8 2 Q 9
♣ Q J 8 ♣ K 9 6 2
♠ A K 4
Q 5 4 3 2
A 7 5 4
♣ 7
North East South West
1♣ 2♠ 3 Pass
4 All Pass

Opening lead — ♠8
It’s easier to play a deal in retrospect. We all look back with consternation on deals we misplayed. At today’s four hearts, South took the ♠A-K, ruffed his last spade in dummy and cashed the A-K of trumps. When East showed out, South came to his A, took his queen of trumps and led a second diamond: eight, jack, queen.
South ruffed East’s spade return, but West overruffed and took the K-10 of diamonds for down one.
With benefit of retrospect, how would you play four hearts?

Bad Split

South would have been safe if trumps had split 3-2, but East’s bid made a bad split likely. South can lead a club to the ace at Trick Three, ruff a club, take the A-K of trumps and ruff a club.
South can then ruff a spade with the jack of trumps and take his ace of diamonds. He has won the first nine tricks and still has the queen of trumps.

Daily Question

You hold: ♠10 2   A K J J 6 3   ♣A 10 5 4 3.
You open one club, the next player overcalls one spade, your partner makes a negative double and the player at your right passes. What do you say?

This is an uneasy position. Partner’s negative double shows heart length (plus either diamond length or club support) but the wrong type of hand to bid hearts. Bid 2, pretending you have a fourth heart, and hope to survive.