N-S vulnerable

NORTH (D)

{spade} K Q

{heart} J 7 3

{diam} K Q 7 6 3

{club} Q 9 4

WEST

{spade} 9 4 3

{heart} 8 6

{diam} A 5 4

{club} A 10 8 6 3

EAST

{spade} 5 2

{heart} A Q 10 9

{diam} 10 9

{club} K J 7 5 2

SOUTH

{spade} A J 10 8 7 6

{heart} K 5 4 2

{diam} J 8 2

{club} None

The bidding: North EastSouth West 1 {diam} Pass1 {spade} Pass1 NT Pass4 {spade} All Pass Opening lead: {spade} 3

It's true that procrastination is the thief of time -- and the loot can never be recovered -- but after today's declarer drew trumps too soon, he couldn't recover.

When West led a trump, South drew trumps and led a diamond. West judged that if South had only one diamond, he wouldn't have spent the queen of trumps, a sure dummy entry. So West ducked.

Dummy won, but East signaled with the ten and next, when dummy led a second diamond, the nine. West ducked South's jack, won the third diamond and led the ace of clubs, and South ruffed but took only eight tricks. Down two.

South must let the trumps wait and lead a diamond from dummy at Trick Two. East plays the ten, but West won't know whether East has two or four diamonds. If West takes South's jack, South runs the diamonds later for an overtrick.

If you disliked West's opening lead, I'm with you. I'd fear South could easily set up dummy's diamonds for discards. I'd have led a heart or the ace of clubs.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} 5 2 {heart} A Q 10 9 {diam} 10 9 {club} K J 7 5 2.

Your partner opens one spade, you respond two clubs, he bids two diamonds and you try 2NT. Partner next rebids three diamonds. What do you say?

Answer: Partner's three diamonds suggests five spades, five diamonds and minimum values. He is warning you against both game and notrump. If he were willing to play at game, he'd have made a stronger bid. Bid three spades. A bid of 3NT would be undisciplined.

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