Both sides vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} Q 9 5

{heart} Q 10 5

{diam} Q 10 8 3

{club} A Q 3

WEST

{spade} J 8 7 4 3

{heart} K 8 2

{diam} A 7 2

{club} 7 4

EAST

{spade} K 10 6

{heart} 7 6 4

{diam} 9 6 4

{club} J 10 9 8

SOUTH (D)

{spade} A 2

{heart} A J 9 3

{diam} K J 5

{club} K 6 5 2

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

If a little learning is a dangerous thing, few of us have enough learning to be out of danger.

In today's deal, dummy played the five on the first spade, and East learnedly played the ten. South took the ace and led the king of diamonds. West won and led a second spade, but South guessed well to play the nine from dummy. When East took the king, South had two spades, three diamonds, three clubs and a heart.

What learning East had wasn't enough. If East applies the Rule of 11, he has a chance. He subtracts four, West's spade lead, from 11. The remainder of seven is the number of higher spades that dummy, East and declarer hold.

Since East can see six of these, he knows South has only one spade higher than the four. If East plays the six on the first spade, South gets only one spade trick and goes down.

If South had the jack, East's play would cost nothing. If South had the seven or eight, he'd have played the queen at Trick One as his best chance for a spade trick.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} Q 9 5 {heart} Q 10 5 {diam} Q 10 8 3 {club} A Q 3.

You're the dealer with neither side vulnerable. What do you say?

Answer: Pass. Although the two tens may tempt you to open the bidding, the defensive values are lacking. To open with borderline high-card values, you need at least two defensive tricks. But notice that if, as in today's deal, your partner opens 1NT, your hand improves since his aces and kings will make winners of your queens.

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