Both sides vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} J 3

{heart} 7 3

{diam} J 10 9 3 2

{club} K 10 6 3

WEST

{spade} A 9

{heart} Q 10 2

{diam} A K Q 6

{club} Q 9 7 4

EAST

{spade} K 8 5

{heart} 6 4

{diam} 8 7 5 4

{club} A J 8 2

SOUTH (D)

{spade} Q 10 7 6 4 2

{heart} A K J 9 8 5

{diam} None

{club} 5

The bidding: SouthWestNorthEast1 {spade} 1 NT PassPass3 {heart} Pass3 {spade} Pass4 {heart} Pass4 {spade} All Pass Opening lead: Choose it

If partners were flowers, I'd pick Rose, the member of my club whose courtesy toward partners and opponents is exemplary. Not to mention, she plays a sound game.

Rose was East, my partner. Against four spades, I led the king of diamonds -- a mistake. Since South had shown a huge major-suit two-suiter, and North had announced a spade preference, I should have led the ace of trumps. (I could then lead another trump, and we'd get two trumps, a heart and a club.)

South ruffed and led the A-K and a low heart, ruffing with dummy's jack. Some Easts might have overruffed petulantly, but Rose stopped to think. She was always sure to get the king of trumps, and by discarding she might promote an extra trump trick.

South next led a trump to his queen, and I took the ace and led another diamond. South ruffed but was sure to lose two more trumps and a club.

Rose saved me: That's what good partners are for. If she overruffs dummy on the third heart, South gets home.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} A 9 {heart} Q 10 2 {diam} A K Q 6 {club} Q 9 7 4.

Your partner opens one spade, you respond two diamonds, he bids two hearts and you try three clubs. Partner next bids 3NT. What do you say?

Answer: Slam is possible. Your partner may have minimum values, but you've left some of your values still unbid. Raise to 4NT, not as an ace-asking bid but as a "quantitative" try for 6NT. If your partner has a hand such as K Q 10 4 3, A K 7 6, 8 7, K 3, he'll go on to slam.

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