Both sides vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} J 10 4

{heart} K 10 7 6

{diam} K Q 9 4

{club} Q J

WEST

{spade} Q 9 7 2

{heart} 8 2

{diam} 7 6

{club} K 8 6 3 2

EAST

{spade} K 8 5 3

{heart} Q J 9 3

{diam} 8 5 2

{club} A 4

SOUTH (D)

{spade} A 6

{heart} A 5 4

{diam} A J 10 3

{club} 10 9 7 5

The bidding:

South

West

North

East 1 {diam}

Pass

1 {heart}

Pass 2 {heart}

Pass

3 {diam}

Pass 3 NT

All Pass Opening lead: {club} 3

Today's deal was a favorite of the great Alfred Sheinwold, who originated this column in 1962 and passed away six years ago this week. Freddy knew that bridge is a problem-solver's game; he often used deals that required a defender to use the techniques of counting and inference.

You can test your own defense by covering the West and South cards. When West leads the three of clubs, you take your ace, and declarer follows with the five. How do you continue?

West's lead of the three shows that he had no more than five clubs; hence South has four. South bid diamonds and therefore has at least four cards in that suit, and he raised North's response of one heart, promising at least three-card support. Add it up and you know South has only a doubleton in spades.

It's possible you can run the clubs -- West might have led from K-10-9-3-2 -- but even then you need not return a club at the second trick.

South can have at most eight fast tricks: two spades, four diamonds and two hearts. It's more likely South has at least one stopper in clubs, and a club continuation will help him. You should shift to the three of spades.

South plays low, and West takes the queen and returns a spade. You duck, and South's ace falls. He must force out the king of clubs next, and then you take the king of spades and another spade to defeat the contract.

If you continue clubs at Trick Two, South is home: He wins two clubs, four diamonds, two hearts and a spade.

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