N-S vulnerable

NORTH (D)

{spade} A Q 4

{heart} K Q 5

{diam} Q 6 4

{club} A 7 6 3

WEST

{spade} 8 7 6

{heart} 9 2

{diam} J 10 9 5 3

{club} K J 9

EAST

{spade} 5 3

{heart} 10 8 7 4 3

{diam} A K 8 2

{club} Q 10

SOUTH

{spade} K J 10 9 2

{heart} A J 6

{diam} 7

{club} 8 5 4 2

The bidding: NorthEast SouthWest 1 NT Pass3 {spade}Pass 4 {spade} All Pass Opening lead: {diam} J

This week's deals involve the idea of "trump control": preserving enough trumps so you can safely establish and cash your other winners. The best advice on trump control I know: When control may be a problem, set up your side suit early.

Today's declarer ruffed the second diamond, drew trumps and next led the ace and a low club. East won and led a third diamond, and South was in difficulty: When he ruffed with his last trump, he had lost control. South took three hearts, but West won the last two tricks with the king of clubs and a diamond. Down one.

Even when the trumps break 3-2, South must set up his clubs early. After South ruffs the second diamond, he leads the ace and a low club. He ruffs the next diamond and concedes another club.

When West wins, he can't beat the contract. If West leads a diamond, South can ruff in dummy, preserving the remaining trumps in his hand. He can then draw trumps and cash his good club and three hearts to land the contract.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} K J 10 9 2 {heart} A J 6 {diam} 7 {club} 8 5 4 2.

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

Answer: Bid two hearts, suggesting 10 or 11 points with heart support. If you had six to nine points with support, you'd have raised to two hearts at your first turn, setting the trump suit and defining your strength quickly. If your jack of hearts were the king, you'd jump in hearts now.

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