N-S vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} A K J 5

{heart} 7 4

{diam} 9 2

{club} Q 9 5 4 2

WEST

{spade} 10 9 8 7 2

{heart} K 8 5 2

{diam} K J 3

{club} 8

EAST

{spade} 6

{heart} J 10 9 6 3

{diam} Q 7 6 5

{club} A J 7

SOUTH (D)

{spade} Q 4 3

{heart} A Q

{diam} A 10 8 4

{club} K 10 6 3

The bidding: South WestNorthEast 1 NT Pass2 {club} Pass2 {diam} Pass3 NT All Pass Opening lead: {spade} 10

There's a big difference between ignoring a problem and avoiding it.

In today's deal, North-South bid routinely to 3NT, and South won the spade opening lead in dummy and led the deuce of clubs: seven, king, eight.

On the next club, West discarded a spade, and East won with the jack and shifted to the jack of hearts, dooming South to defeat.

West took South's queen with the king and returned a heart, and the defense ran the hearts when East got in with the ace of clubs.

South ignored the problem: He risked going down if East got in and led a heart before the clubs were set up.

An "avoidance" play will save South: He leads a club to his ten at Trick Two.

As the cards lie, South makes an overtrick, but if West could take the jack of clubs, South would still be safe for nine tricks.

West couldn't lead a heart effectively, and if he led a diamond, South could play low from dummy, take East's queen and force out the ace of clubs, losing two clubs and two diamonds.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} 6 {heart} J 10 9 6 3 {diam} Q 7 6 5 {club} A J 7.

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

Answer: Partner's second bid has improved your hand mightily. Your fifth card in hearts will be a winner, and if his hand is short in diamonds, he'll score extra trump tricks with ruffs. Even if your partner has a minimum hand such as A K 4 3 2, A 8 7 2, 2, K 8 4, 10 tricks are likely. Bid four hearts.

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