Left Field 04

In my previous article we discussed drawing, in fact not drawing, trumps. Continuing on that theme, how would you like to play in a six card trump suit opposite a void and, suspecting that nearly everyone else would be playing in 3NT. All very well if your trump suit is solid but North’s in this deal was headed by the AK but then the next cards were the 9853. Let’s take a look. This comes from X-Clubs on Wednesday 5-July 2023.

Board 5 Dealer N NS Vul


I admit that if I were North, I would probably choose to play in 4H even when partner seems to insist on 3NT. Let’s not talk about the bidding, but some Norths did play in 4H. That is where it could have got interesting if North had been aware of the huge power that a trump suit can add, even when faced with a void opposite. Let me put you in North’s seat as declarer in 4H, East leading the nine of diamonds. What would you be thinking?

Yes, dummy has a void in hearts and many good cards in the other suits, therefore 3NT would probably make at least nine tricks. Therefore you have to do your best to make your 4H contract. What are your chances, and how could you possibly outscore those in No Trumps? Drawing trumps might be the initial thought but it should be immediately discarded. Why? Because in No Trumps, others will be playing on the other suits to develop tricks, to which will be added only TWO heart tricks from North. In a HEART contract, more than two heart tricks will be needed, and any tricks outside the heart suit will be offset by your losing trumps. You therefore have to not only take your outside tricks but also try and make use of your small trumps.

So, take care of your off suit tricks first. Win the diamond in hand and run the S10, hoping this works. When it does, continue with a second and then a third from dummy, discarding the losing diamond from hand. Now a diamond and ruff with one of your low trumps. Since side suit tricks are needed, a club finesse to the jack (phew!) and another diamond ruff. Fortunately East follows. Still no time for drawing trumps. Cash your clubs, ending in dummy, and hope they survive. They do and this is now the situation:

Each hand has only four cards left and trumps have not been led once!


Declarer now leads the queen of spades from dummy, knowing that East has the king. If West ruffs low, declarer over ruffs while East has to follow. If West ruffs with the queen, hoping to promote East’s trumps, declarer over ruffs. Declarer then leads the heart nine, which East wins but is then end played and must lead a heart round to declarer’s A9.

Now, isn’t it much more fun playing this one in 4H and making TWO overtricks, rather than allowing partner to play a mundane 3NT? Seldom will such an opportunity come again. Sad to report, of those Norths who did choose to take that opportunity, few made more than nine tricks. Of course they did what comes naturally and played the ace and king of hearts at the first opportunity. Despite the void opposite, it was the only denomination that could have led to twelve tricks!