Can you make 12 tricks?

Hi everybody.

A fun little hand to play here! I'm South and the dealer, and I'm going to open 1H. I’ve got a good six card heart suit and fifteen high card points. North bids 2C, and I'm not inclined to rush here because I could bid 2S, I could bid 3H - but if I bid 2H, North is not going to pass that, and it gives North a bit more room to describe his hand. So I'll bid 2H.

North jumps to 4H. Now that's not a sign-off! Just because it's a jump to game, it doesn’t mean it's a sign-off. North only knows that I've got 12 points, and North has jumped to 4H so North has got to have thirteen points to do that. He won't have sixteen, seventeen, or eighteen points, but he will still have thirteen or so points so it's not a sign-off. There's nothing to stop me bidding on if I want to.

Do I want to? Touch and go.

I'm mildly concerned about that spade suit. We might be missing two spade tricks. Hearts suit looks pretty good. We also might be missing two aces. I'm tempted just to bid 6H, but because we might be missing 2 aces, I'll just bid 4NT.

OK - my partner is showing one ace, so now I know we're not missing two aces. Now I'll bid 6H. I know that 4H would be safe, but I reckon I've got at least a fifty/fifty chance of making 6H. So, I'll bid 6H.

Right! Now the play is interesting because there are a couple of things we could do here. The first is because West did not lead a club, we've got the opportunity to discard that CQ. So I could, for example, win 6, 2, DA. In fact, I have to follow suit and play the ace anyway so I'm going to win that.

Now I could play the DK, throwing away the CQ, and then I wouldn't lose any clubs. The thing is that I'd still have a spade to lose. The other thing I could do is draw trumps, and hopefully the hearts break two-two or the HQ drops singleton. Then when I play the CQ from the South hand, 5 from the North hand, that loses to the ace probably - but then I've one, two, three club winners, and that DK is a winner.

So I've got four discards: the CQ clubs loses to the ace, and I play the 5, then I've got the CK, CJ, C10 and the DK to throw away one, two, three, four spades. So that's what I'm going to do. If the hearts don't break I'm in a bit of strife here, so let's just hope that the hearts break!

Great. OK. Now I can play the CQ - that loses to the ace and now I've got these one, two, three, four winners. Throw diamonds, and I've still got the SA and then those hearts left. So that's pretty cool!

Now, whether or not you choose to bid 6H - that's a close call. Nothing wrong with staying in 4H there, but sometimes you can't be too scientific about these things. If you think "There might be 6H is there but I'm not sure", to me it makes more sense to bid 6H. If you feel it's there but don't know how to bid it, just bid it! If you feel it's not there, stop before.

Have fun with that hand. See you next time.

Can you make 12 tricks?