N-S vulnerable

NORTH (D)

{spade} K J 7 5

{heart} J 10 6 4 2

{diam} A Q

{club} A 10

WEST

{spade} 8 6

{heart} 5

{diam} 10 6 5 4 3

{club} K J 7 5 4

EAST

{spade} A 9 2

{heart} A 9 8 3

{diam} J 9 7

{club} 9 8 3

SOUTH

{spade} Q 10 4 3

{heart} K Q 7

{diam} K 8 2

{club} Q 6 2

The bidding:NorthEastSouthWest1 {heart} Pass1 {spade}Pass2 {spade} Pass3 NTPass4 {spade} All Pass Opening lead: {heart} 5

"My partner, who is also my wife, always has to have the last word," a fan writes. "I give it to her and feel fortunate: Some women never get to the last word."

My fan says he was East, and when his wife led a heart against four spades, he won and returned the nine for her to ruff. West then led a diamond, and South won and led a trump.

"My ace won our last trick," East writes: "After South drew trumps, he had plenty of winners. My wife told me we'd beat four spades if I shift to a club at the second trick. I said I was afraid not to give her a ruff, but she had the last word: She said I needed to count our tricks."

I'll have the last word. East can see three easy tricks, but the fourth must come from clubs. In case West has the K-J of clubs, East must lead a club at Trick Two. When East returned a heart too soon, West couldn't lead a club effectively.

Since South probably has only four spades on the bidding, East can wait to give West a ruff. The club shift can't wait.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} A 9 2 {heart} A 9 8 3 {diam} J 9 7 {club} 9 8 3.

Your partner opens one diamond, you respond one heart, he bids two clubs, and you return to two diamonds. Partner then bids three diamonds. What do you say?

Answer: Though your preference bid of two diamonds showed at most nine points, partner is still interested in game, and since your values are maximum, you must cooperate. Bid 3NT or five diamonds -- or bid three spades as an "advance cue bid."

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