West dealer

Neither side vulnerable


S 9 4 2

H K 10 6 4

D A J 3

C K 9 8


S 8 5

H A 3 2

D 9 7 6 2

C 10 6 4 2


S A K J 7 6

H 9 8 7

D Q 5 4

C 7 3


S Q 10 3

H Q J 5

D K 10 8

C A Q J 5

West North East South

Pass Pass Pass 1 C

Pass 1 H 1 S 1 NT

Pass 3 NT All Pass

Opening lead -- S 8

Some players prefer solid values to overcall; others like to climb in with light hands. But anybody's overcall suggests a good suit -- something that makes defending easier as well as bidding.

In a European match, Poland vs. Great Britain, West led a spade against 3NT, trusting East to have a decent suit for his overcall. Since East knew South had a spade trick to bid 1NT freely, he played the jack of spades to force out South's winner and preserve the defenders' communication.

When South won with the queen, it would have been easy for West to get discouraged. But when South led the jack of hearts next, West continued to trust his partner's bid: West stepped up with the ace and led his last spade; and East ran the spades. Down one.

If West is untrusting and plays low on the first heart, South's "fake finesse" may land the contract. Having stolen a heart trick, South will cash his clubs, then switch to diamonds. If he guesses where the queen lies, he has nine tricks.


You hold: S 9 4 2 H K 10 6 4 D A J 3 C K 9 8. You pass as dealer, the next player passes and your partner bids one spade. The next player passes. What do you say?

ANSWER: If you hadn't passed, you'd temporize with a bid of two clubs, planning to support the spades next. You can't do that now; if partner opened light, he might pass. Bid 2NT. You'd normally have 13 to 15 points, but partner will expect only 11 or 12 when you passed as dealer.