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Both vulnerable. North deals.



Published: Thu, January 13, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Both vulnerable. North deals.

NORTH

x Q 3

u A Q 10 5

v J 6 4

w A 9 6 2

WEST EAST

x 10 8 7 4 2 x A 9 6

u 7 4 u K 9 8 3

v K 9 7 3 v 10 8

w J 4 w Q 10 8 3

SOUTH

x K J 5

u J 6 2

v A Q 5 2

w K 7 5

The bidding:

NORTH EAST SOUTH WEST

1w Pass 2NT Pass

3NT Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: Four of x

South, declarer at three no trump, needs four or five tricks from the red suits to make his contract. Is it pure guesswork which red-suit he tackles first?

The auction is textbook. After North's opening bid, South's jump to two no trump shows a balanced 13-15 points. With a balanced, minimum opening bid, North's raise to three no trump is automatic.

West led a low spade to East's ace, and East returned the nine of spades. In which hand should declarer win the trick?

Regardless of which red suit South wants to develop first, he should win in hand, swallowing dummy's queen with his king. What now?

That depends on which hand poses a threat to the contract. The play makes it obvious that West started with five spades, so any possible entry to the West hand should be attacked first.

Suppose declarer takes the heart finesse. If it wins, declarer might get four heart tricks, and nine in all, by repeating the finesse, but what if it loses? East will knock out declarer's remaining spade stopper and the contract goes down if West holds the king of diamonds.

Correct is to lead a low diamond toward the jack. If it wins, declarer can abandon diamonds and set up three heart tricks to get home. If it loses to the king in the East hand, the defender can return a spade but declarer wins and takes the heart finesse. Even if this loses, East is out of spades and South has the heart tricks he needs to coast home.

& copy; 2005 Tribune Media Services

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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