N-S vulnerable

NORTH (D)

{spade} 7

{heart} Q 6 3

{diam} J 8 4 3 2

{club} A K 5 2

WEST

{spade} K 9 3

{heart} J 10 8

{diam} Q

{club} 9 8 7 6 4 3

EAST

{spade} 10 5

{heart} K 9 5 4

{diam} A 9 7 6 5

{club} Q J

SOUTH

{spade} A Q J 8 6 4 2

{heart} A 7 2

{diam} K 10

{club} 10

The bidding: NorthEast SouthWestPass Pass4 {spade} All Pass Opening lead: {diam} Q

I continue a series on drawing inferences. Today's deal arose in French team trials.

South had too many points to open four spades; maybe he hoped to tempt East-West into an indiscretion. When West led the queen of diamonds, East took the ace, and South correctly played his king (the card East knew he held). East returned a diamond anyway, and West ruffed and led the jack of hearts: queen, king, ace.

South next took the A-K of clubs, dropping East's Q-J, and threw a heart. He could then have finessed in trumps but instead led the jack of diamonds and threw his last heart. West ruffed, but South ruffed the heart return and cashed the ace of trumps. When the king fell, South took the rest.

Do you see why South declined the trump finesse?

South inferred from the bidding that West had the king of trumps. East, who passed in second seat, had shown 10 points: ace of diamonds, king of hearts, Q-J of clubs. So South's only chance was to find West with K-3 or K-9-3 of trumps.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} K 9 3 {heart} J 10 8 {diam} Q {club} 9 8 7 6 4 3.

Your partner opens one diamond, and the next player passes. What do you say?

Answer: You must respond. For all you know, partner's hand is Q 4, 5, A K J 9 6 3, A K 10 2, and game at a minor suit will be a favorite. Your only option is to try 1NT. Even if a low club were the king, your hand wouldn't be worth a response of two clubs. If the player at your right had overcalled one heart, though, you'd happily pass.

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