N-S vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} A 7 5 2

{heart} 7 3

{diam} A 7 3

{club} A 10 3 2

WEST

{spade} Q J 10 3

{heart} J 9 8 5

{diam} J 9 4

{club} Q 5

EAST

{spade} K 9 8 4

{heart} 6

{diam} Q 10 8 5

{club} K J 9 8

SOUTH (D)

{spade} 6

{heart} A K Q 10 4 2

{diam} K 6 2

{club} 7 6 4

The bidding: SouthWestNorthEast 1 {heart} Pass1 {spade} Pass 2 {heart} Pass3 NT Pass 4 {heart} All Pass Opening lead: {spade} Q

Nothing is impossible -- except perhaps getting your name off a mailing list -- but declarer in today's deal gave up early.

I'd have passed 3NT as South -- with East-West's spades breaking 4-4, not even a spade opening lead would beat that contract -- but South was worried about his singleton spade and weakness in clubs. He "corrected" to four hearts.

West led the queen of spades, and South took the ace and cashed the A-K of trumps. When East threw a diamond, South tried unsuccessfully to set up dummy's fourth club and lost two clubs, a trump and a diamond.

Making four hearts was no impossibility, but South must display foresight. At Trick Two he must allow for the chance of a 4-1 trump break and ruff a spade. South next takes the A-K of trumps.

When East discards, South goes to the ace of clubs, ruffs a spade, takes the K-A of diamonds and ruffs a spade. When West must follow suit, South is home. He has won nine tricks and still has the queen of trumps.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} K 9 8 4 {heart} 6 {diam} Q 10 8 5 {club} K J 9 8.

Your partner opens one diamond, you respond one spade and he bids 2NT. You return to three diamonds, and partner next tries three hearts. What do you say?

Answer: Partner promises a balanced 19 or 20 points, and his three hearts shows strength concentrated in hearts. Bid 3NT. Since you already suggested doubts about no-trump, partner won't pass if that contract is shaky. He may hold A 3, K Q 10 3, A K J 6, Q 5 4.

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