Both sides vulnerable


{spade} J 9 8 7

{heart} A 3

{diam} 4 2

{club} A Q 9 4 3


{spade} K 4 3

{heart} K Q J 5

{diam} K J 7 3

{club} 8 7


{spade} 5

{heart} 10 9 8 4

{diam} 10 9 8 5

{club} K 6 5 2


{spade} A Q 10 6 2

{heart} 7 6 2

{diam} A Q 6

{club} J 10

The bidding: West NorthEastSouth1 {diam} PassPass1 {spade}Pass3 {spade} Pass4 {spade} All Pass Opening lead: {heart} K

Nothing is surer than death and higher taxes, but one thing is equally sure: When Unlucky Louie is declarer and wants the cards to lie well, they'll lie some other way.

In today's deal Louie refused the first heart, and West shifted to a club. Dummy played low, and East took the king and led a diamond: queen, king. West then led another heart to the ace, and Louie next tried a finesse in trumps. Down one.

"Three finesses, three losers," Louie sighed.

Louie can afford to lose finesses in trumps and clubs. He can't afford to let East get in for a diamond shift before the trumps are drawn and the clubs are established. So Louie should take the ace of clubs at Trick Two and finesse in trumps.

West wins and leads another club to East's king, but if East leads a diamond, Louie takes the ace, draws trumps and runs the clubs to discard diamonds. If instead East leads a third club, Louie ruffs high, draws trumps and still has two good clubs in dummy for discards.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} J 9 8 7 {heart} A 3 {diam} 4 2 {club} A Q 9 4 3.

Your partner opens one club, you respond one spade and he bids 1NT. The opponents pass. What do you say?

Answer: Raise to 2NT or, with a conservative partner, jump to 3NT. To shelve your fine club support may look odd, but since your distribution is almost balanced, you should prefer to play at the nine-trick notrump game. The 11-trick club game will seldom come home when 3NT would fail.

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