The general rule is that, once you’ve agreed a trump suit, you will not bid any new suit naturally. However, this does not need always to be the case . . .  The results on this deal showed East-West playing in hearts at the 4 or 5-level — usually failing by a trick or two — or North-South in 5C. Mysteriously, not one pair played in the best contract: 4S. Why would this be?

Dealer: North
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When you have overcalled and agreed a minor suit, the bid of a new major suit should be offering an alternative denomination in which to play. Here, South should bid 3S, telling partner that he is happy to compete to at least to 4C, indicating a 4-card spade suit. It is possible, after all, for North to have four spades — or even five! If East had jumped to 4H, South should still bid 4S. This would not show 5-5 in clubs and spades, as South would initially have shown spades with such a hand. 6-5 shape is comparatively rare, and could be shown using a two-suited overcall.

Against 4H, which several players made, South might start with his singleton diamond, but he does have two chances. K♠ seems best initially and, when that is revealed to be a trickless suit for the defence, when South wins A♥, he can then switch to a diamond. 4H going one off is fine, but making 5C or, ideally, 4S is far better.

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