Guy Lafleur is a former Canadian ice hockey star who won five Stanley Cups and was the first National Hockey League player to score 50 goals and 100 points in six straight seasons. He said, “I’ve never been captain in 16 years in the NHL. But that didn’t stop me being a leader in my own way.”

We are looking at captaincy in auctions this week. The responder chooses the final contract much more often than opener because he always has more information at his fingertips. But there are deals in which responder must continue to get feedback from his partner.

How should the auction continue in this deal?

North could just close his eyes and rebid three notrump. Here, though, that would backfire because the defenders would take the first five tricks in spades. Instead, North should continue with two hearts, which is also game-forcing. If South then bids two no-trump because he has a spade stopper or two, North can raise. Here, though, South should bid three clubs. (Two honors doubleton are as good as three low cards.) North continues with three diamonds, and South jumps to five diamonds.

After West cashes two spade tricks and shifts to a heart, how should South continue?

Yes, that is a tough auction, but discuss it with your partner.

South must avoid a trump loser. He should hope that West has jack-singleton or jack-doubleton. Declarer should start with a low diamond to his queen. When West drops the jack, declarer overtakes his club queen with dummy’s king (or crosses in hearts), plays a diamond to his 10, cashes the diamond ace, and claims.

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