North-South vulnerable. South deals.

North-South vulnerable. South deals.
Q J 10 8 2
J 8
J 8
K J 4 2
7 4 A 9 6 3
A Q 9 7 3 2 6 4
K 2 9 7 4
10 9 8 7 6 5 3
K 5
K 10 5
A Q 10 6 5 3
The bidding:
1 1 1 Pass
2NT Pass 3NT Pass
Pass Pass Pass
Opening lead: Seven of
Study the bidding and play of this deal. Was everything normal or did someone err? You be the judge.
The first round of the auction was unremarkable. South's decision to jump to two no trump at his second turn has our endorsement. Despite the six-card diamond suit his hand was, essentially, balanced. North had an easy raise to game.
West led the seven of hearts and dummy's eight won. Declarer had to set up one of his pointed suits. If West held the ace of spades, declarer could set up the suit and the contract was secure. Despite that, South decided to take the diamond finesse. Even if that lost, all was still well if West held the ace of spades or if he chose to exit with the wrong black suit. The jack of diamonds was led, East played the four and declarer the three. That lost but, after some thought, West returned a club and then contract was in the bag.
Was West just unlucky or did someone err. If so, who?
Give East 100 percent of the blame! He had an opportunity to direct the winning defense but failed to seize it.
When declarer led the jack of diamonds at trick two, East should have followed with the nine. Since that was declarer's suit, it could hardly be encouraging a diamond continuation or giving count. It had to be a suit preference signal, showing an entry in the higher suit -- spades. That would have led to a quick three down.
This column is written by Tannah Hirsch and Omar Sharif. For information about Charles Goren's newsletter for bridge players, call (800) 788-1225 or write Goren Bridge Letter, P.O. Box 4410, Chicago, Ill. 60680.
& copy;2006, Tribune Media Services
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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