Rebecca West, a British journalist who died in 1983, defined journalism as an ability to meet the challenge of filling the space.

Too true; but sometimes bridge requires you to judge the ability of your opponents. If they are near-beginners, you probably will not have to be as tough as when they are capable. However, most of the time, you should try to find the best bids and plays, regardless of the opposition’s expertise.

In this deal, for example, take the West hand. You open one spade, but the opponents push into four hearts. You lead the spade king. Partner overtakes it with his ace and returns the spade two, declarer following both times. What would you do next?

South is strong enough for a three-heart bid on the first round, which in the balancing seat is intermediate, showing some 14-16 points. However, most players would want a stronger suit.

You should realize that declarer, if paying any attention, knows that you have the heart king. Your partner did not respond to your one-spade opening and has already produced four points in the spade ace.

So, a skillful South will play to drop your heart king and get lucky. You have just one chance.

Cash the club ace (necessary if declarer had a singleton club and could make a loser-on-loser play) before leading your lowest spade – then hope partner thinks to ruff with his heart eight to force a trump promotion.

If he ruffs with the heart three, … fill in your own conclusion to that sentence.

Comments are not available on this story.