Moysian Fit - Referring to declarer's 4-3 trump split named after
Alphonse Moyse Jr., who (in certain situations) strongly advocated opening 4
card majors and raises with 3 card support.
Playing a 4-3
Moysian trump fit is often challenging since one opponent often has as
many (64%) or more trump (16%) than the declarer. The declarer's
dilemma is how many rounds of trump to play - playing more than 1 round of
trump usually commits the declarer to a given line of play, hoping
opponents' trump split relatively evenly. The two primary strategies
when playing a Moysian fit are:
playing strategy - hands easier to identify losers, maintaining overall
control; holding the Ace of trump may be imperative to control the timing of
trump removal (adjusting the number of trump rounds to play
based on real-time data). As expected, the control strategy is usually
best at game and slam levels.
trick-taking strategy - hands easier to identify winners (quick tricks)
including pitching losers on Dummy and cross-ruffing, strategies often used
in part score contracts.
strategies are often sound, here's a notable exception:
Possible auctions for following hand:
|1C - 1H;
2N - 3D;
3H - 3S;
4H - P
1C - 1H;
2N - 3S;
4H - P
For those not playing New Minor
Forcing, 3D in natural showing shape and game forcing (responder new
suit rebids are forcing when opener jumps). For both auctions, 3S
is Western Cuebid asking partner to bid 3 Notrump with a stopper.
For those playing New Minor Forcing, responder rebidding 3D would
show 5+ Hearts. As above, South is forced to bid 3S - Western
Cuebid asking partner to bid 3 Notrump with a stopper.
North opens by bidding 1 Club (not 1 Notrump) with an excellent 17 High Card
Point hand, all honors working plus 1 distribution point for the promotable
Club suit. South responds 1 Heart with a slightly more than a minimum
hand and North rebids 2 Notrump showing balanced values to show 18-19
playing points lacking 4 Hearts. South considers passing 2 Notrump but
decides to keep the auction alive, hoping the Club Queen-10 and connected
Heart King-Queen might be of value to North's powerful hand. For
partnerships who do not play New Minor
Forcing in this situation, responder's 3 Diamond rebid rightly shows
shape. Otherwise, 3 Spades might be used to ask North to bid 3 Notrump
with a stopper, ala Western Cuebid -
especially in a fourth suit forcing
auction at the 3 level. Regardless, without a Spade stopper, North
accepts a 4 Heart auction with the 4-3 Moysian trump fit. True, North's
hand is disadvantaged not holding a Spade stopper for the 3 Notrump contract
with the lead coming up to the North hand. Yet on other hand, North's
excellent honors in the 3 card
Heart suit provides juicy honors to help partner clear the trump suit.
Ditto on Clubs - a great honor holding to help declarer South promote a long
side suit to generate tricks.
Declarer can win 4 Hearts, 1 Diamond, and up to 5 Clubs. However, if
an opponents' Heart holding
breaks 5-1 (15% chance),
the contract fails. While a control approach appears best,
consider a safe alternative here: Ruff 2 Spades, win 3 Hearts, 1 Diamond,
and 4 Clubs; it's better to try for at least one normal split (4-2 Clubs).
With many 4-3 Moysian fits, it's often wise to explore establishing a side
suit in the face of losing trump control - even with hands as shown above.
Obviously, the contract level is a primary factor in determining the ideal
Generally, the declarer should strive to:
Maintain a stopper
(control) in the short suit, sometimes requiring a holdup
trumps on the longer trump side to avoid losing control of the short suit
(opponents' pumping/dinging trump)
(loser on loser) from long trump hand to maintain trump parity with
trump without first or second round trump controls
Incidentally, when pondering a Moysian 4-3 fit, the
responder should give careful consideration to the worthless side suit major
that prevents them from playing in 3 Notrump. Looking at the hand
above, North is gratified the Spade suit is merely a doubleton, not a
problematic worthless side suit tripleton.
On some hands, responder holding a 3 card side suit might challenge the
declarer to make the contract. Should North hold a 3 card Spade suit
above, South will be forced to ruff from longer 4 card trump suit.
For some hands, South's honor length will quickly be 'tapped' putting the defenders in
control of their suit (Spades). In that situation, the declarer's counter defense would be
to forfeit a third Spade in the North hand rather than allowing the
defenders to tap South's 4 card Heart suit. However, noting the
excellent Heart and Club honors in the above North-South hands, lacking a
poor 5-2 Heart fit by the opponents South's 4 Heart game is solid even when
North holds 3 little Spades (for instance, a 3=3=2=5 shape with the same
For a detailed discussion, see
articles February-April, 1967 by Jeff Rubens