It’s one of the worst feelings in bridge. Your partner has opened the bidding, the next player passes, and you have an opening hand yourself. The problem is, you can’t figure a way to game for the life of you.

Take Board Three at the Edgartown Bridge Club on July 28. South was dealing, with East-West vulnerable:

                              ♠️ A K 7 4 3
                              ♥️ K J 8
                              ♦️ J 10 3
                              ♣️ 5 2

WEST                                                EAST
♠️ Q 6 5 2                                       ♠️ J 9 8
♥️ A 9 5 4                                       ♥️ Q 7 3 2
♦️ 7 4                                              ♦️ 5
♣️ 8 6 4                                           ♣️ A K 10 9 7

                            ♠️ 10
                            ♥️ 10 6
                            ♦️ A K Q 9 8 6 2
                            ♣️ Q J 3

The bidding proceeded as follows:

South           West           North          East
1♦️              Pass           1♠️            Pass
2♦️             All Pass

Opening lead: ♣️6

Declarer made four for +130, but 3NT makes four for +430.

Put yourself in Dummy’s shoes. Seeing little chance for 5♦️, North passes. The stressed player would give anything to be in 3NT but doesn’t have a club stopper. Ergo, pass.
North might have raised to 3♦️, but the auction would have died there. Was there any way to reach 3NT? I had to think about this for a long time. I finally concluded that North should rebid 2♥️. That would accomplish two goals. First, South now realizes that North has at least five spades, because the higher suit was bid first. Second, the auction stays alive.

Now, some players would hesitate to bid 2♥️, because that should show at least a four-card suit. But there are times in bridge when you have to create a bid, even if it runs the risk of misleading partner. As soon as South hears 2♥️, she can bid 3NT.

So the auction would proceed as follows:

South           West          North         East
1♦️              Pass          1♠️            Pass
2♦️              Pass          2♥️            Pass
3NT             All Pass

Even with a club lead, South will cash seven diamonds, two spades and one club for 10 tricks.

That’s the way to land a tough-to-reach contract.