Both sides vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} 7 3

{heart} Q 10 8

{diam} 7 6 4 3

{club} K J 9 5

WEST (D)

{spade} 8 5

{heart} K 7 4

{diam} A K J 8

{club} A 10 7 4

EAST

{spade} J 2

{heart} 9 6 5 3 2

{diam} Q 9 2

{club} 8 6 2

SOUTH

{spade} A K Q 10 9 6 4

{heart} A J

{diam} 10 5

{club} Q 3

The bidding: WestNorth East South1 {diam} Pass Pass DblPass 2 {club} Pass 3 {spade} Pass 4 {spade} All Pass Opening lead: {diam} K

Marriage, n.: A community consisting of a master, a mistress and two slaves, making in all, two.

-- Ambrose Bierce,

"The Devil's Dictionary."

Amarried couple, looking as companionable as a cat and a goldfish, brought me today's deal. They'd been East-West, and wife, East, wasn't happy with husband's defense.

"I played the nine on the first diamond," she said, "but he then led the ace and a third diamond. South ruffed, drew trumps and led queen of clubs. My husband won, and South later took the K-J of clubs to pitch the jack of hearts.

"We beat it if my hubby leads a low diamond at the second trick: I'll win and shift to a heart. And later, if he ducks the queen of clubs, wins the next club and exits with a diamond, South loses a heart."

Husband gave me a pained look. "Couldn't East have had the 9-2 of diamonds? What if South's queen of clubs were singleton? My wife expects me to defend like a genius."

"On the bidding," I said with a shrug, "South is more likely to have two low diamonds than Q-10-5, so underleading in diamonds at Trick Two would have been reasonable."

Wife nodded approvingly.

"But as the play actually went," I went on, "you were right to grab the ace of clubs. If declarer has Q-3, as in the actual deal, ducking won't help you. He overtakes with the king, ruffs dummy's last diamond and leads another club, and when you win you're end-played."

"Just as I foresaw," husband nodded wisely -- and wife led him away by the ear.

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