N-S vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} 5 2

{heart} 10 8 4 3

{diam} Q J 4

{club} A Q 5 2

WEST

{spade} Q J 10 9 6 4

{heart} A 7 6

{diam} 7 5

{club} K 3

EAST

{spade} 8 7 3

{heart} J 5 2

{diam} K 8 3

{club} J 10 8 7

SOUTH (D)

{spade} A K

{heart} K Q 9

{diam} A 10 9 6 2

{club} 9 6 4

The bidding: South West NorthEast1 NT 2 {spade} 3 {spade}Pass 3 NT All Pass Opening lead: {spade} Q

When I watched today's deal in a team match at the club, one South was the player we call Harlow the Halo. Harlow's phenomenal good luck is a nine years' wonder.

North's bid of three spades, a cue bid substituting for the Stayman convention, was a slight overbid, but North added a point for Harlow's luck. After taking the first spade, Harlow led a club to dummy's queen, winning. He finessed in diamonds and next led a heart to his nine. Everything worked like a charm, as usual, and Harlow took 12 tricks.

At the other table, where Ed, my club's best player, was declarer, he won the first spade, led a club to the ace and finessed in diamonds. After running the diamonds, he forced out the ace of hearts for nine tricks.

South must assume the diamond finesse will work, but if East has the king of clubs, Harlow goes down: East will return a spade at Trick Three, and Harlow will have only eight tricks. But Ed makes 3NT no matter which defender has the king of clubs.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} 5 2 {heart} 10 8 4 3 {diam} Q J 4 {club} A Q 5 2.

Your partner opens one diamond, you respond one heart, he bids one spade and you try 1NT. Partner then bids two hearts. The opponents pass. What do you say?

Answer: If partner had a hand such as A Q 7 3, J 9 6, A 10 6 5, K 3, he'd have passed 1NT. To bid a third time despite your announced weakness, he has extra strength or good distribution or both. Bid 3NT. Partner may hold A K J 3, J 9 6, A K 9 6 2, 4.

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