Wednesday's bridge...

FOR the last in our series on covering honours, here is one more example of an occasion when it would be wrong to cover. Covering an honour should never be a reflex action: cover only when you see a chance of promoting smaller cards into winners for your side.

Playing weak no-trump and transfers North-South reached a normal 4S, and West found the killing lead of a heart – if he leads any other suit declarer has time to establish his diamond suit for heart discards.

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Declarer ducked the queen in case the suit was breaking 5-2, but West continued playing with the jack and he had to win the ace. His best chance was to play the trump suit for no losers, so he crossed to a high club and led the queen of spades. If West covers the contract makes – declarer draws trump and concedes two hearts and a diamond. An experienced West will not cover here, when his spot cards are too small to be promoted. If declarer has QJx in spades partner is void, and the Kxxx will be picked up whether West covers or not. If declarer has his minimum holding of two spades partner has only one, so it is not possible to promote anything in partner's hand. And if declarer has only two spades, he can run the queen, then run the jack if he has it, but since he cannot play a third spade West's king will eventually make a trick.

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