N-S vulnerable


{spade} Q 5 3

{heart} Q 8 7

{diam} K 10

{club} A J 10 8 7


{spade} 9 8 6 2

{heart} K 10

{diam} Q 8 7 4

{club} 6 5 4


{spade} J 10

{heart} 6 4 3 2

{diam} 9 6 5 3 2

{club} K Q


{spade} A K 7 4

{heart} A J 9 5

{diam} A J

{club} 9 3 2

The bidding: South WestNorthEast 1 NT Pass3 NT All Pass Opening lead: {diam} 4

Unlucky Louie could buy a suit with an extra pair of pants -- and burn a hole in the coat. Louie was today's declarer at 3NT with plenty of ammunition -- 29 points plus a good five-card suit -- and still went down.

After winning the first diamond, Louie led a club to dummy's ten. East won with the king and returned a diamond, and Louie next let the nine of clubs ride. East produced the queen, and the defense took three diamonds for down one.

Louie had extra chances. He could cash the ace of clubs at the second trick. If no honor appeared, Louie could lead the ace and a low heart, trying for three heart tricks. Even if the hearts produced only two tricks, a 3-3 spade break would see declarer home.

Another possibility was to cash the ace of hearts at Trick Two with club finesses in reserve. When West's ten of hearts fell, Louie could continue hearts to assure the contract.

Almost any play would work -- except Louie's. That's why we call him "Unlucky."

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} A K 7 4 {heart} A J 9 5 {diam} A J {club} 9 3 2.

You open 1NT, your partner responds two clubs (Stayman), you bid two spades and he tries 2NT. The opponents pass. What do you say?

Answer: Your partner's use of Stayman promises interest in game, and he must have four cards in hearts since he didn't raise the spades. Since your values are close to a maximum, jump to four hearts. If your king of spades were the queen, you'd sign off at three hearts.

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