N-S vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} 10 8 6 4

{heart} 9 6

{diam} 9 5

{club} A K 7 6 3

WEST

{spade} K J

{heart} 8 2

{diam} 8 7 6 2

{club} J 10 8 4 2

EAST (D)

{spade} 9 3

{heart} A K J 7 3

{diam} Q J 10 3

{club} Q 9

SOUTH

{spade} A Q 7 5 2

{heart} Q 10 5 4

{diam} A K 4

{club} 5

The bidding: East SouthWestNorth1 {heart} 1 {spade} Pass2 {spade}Pass4 {spade} All Pass Opening lead: {heart} 8

When I watched today's deal at the club, declarer was Joe Overberry, who prizes overtricks more than gold. Whatever book Joe read on dummy play lacked a chapter on safety plays.

East shifted to the queen of diamonds at the second trick, and Joe took the A-K, ruffed a diamond in dummy and led a trump to his queen. West took the king and led another heart, and when East won and led a third heart, West scored his jack of trumps, ruffing in front of dummy. Down one.

"East opened," Joe growled, "so I expected the trump finesse to win. Then I might make an overtrick."

Since Joe's only side-suit losers are two hearts, he can afford one trump loser. At Trick Three he must cash the ace of trumps. If both defenders followed low, Joe would take his second high diamond, ruff a diamond in dummy and lead a trump, losing only one trump unless West began with K-J-x. As the cards lie, West's jack falls under the ace, and Joe can continue trumps, easily making the contract.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} 10 8 6 4 {heart} 9 6 {diam} 9 5 {club} A K 7 6 3.

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

Answer: Bid two hearts since your hearts are so much stronger than your diamonds. I'm kidding, but to bid two hearts is indeed correct. Partner probably has longer hearts, and you must return to your longer trump suit. A bid of either 2NT or three clubs would promise more strength.

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