East-West vulnerable. South deals.


xK 5

u9 6 4 3

vA 7 5 3 2

wK 4


xA 10 6 3 2 xJ 9 4

uJ 8 5 2 uQ 10 7

vJ 8 4 vQ 10 9

wQ w10 9 8 5


xQ 8 7

uA K

vK 6

wA J 7 6 3 2

The bidding:


1NT Pass 2w Pass

2v Pass 3NT Pass

Pass Pass

Opening lead: Three of x

Study the diagram above. After the lead of the three of spades, would you rather play or defend three no trump?

While you are considering that question, think about South’s choice of one no trump as the opening bid. Had South chosen to open one club, there would have been no good rebid no matter what North responded. A jump to two notrump would be an overbid, while three clubs would greatly overstress the quality of the suit. The hand is essentially balanced, and had South held one fewer club and one more red card, no one would have given a second thought to opening one no trump.

Suppose you elect to declare and rise with the king of spades at trick one, which holds, then go after clubs, the suit in which you will need at least four tricks to get home. You cash the king of clubs, dropping the queen, and continue the suit, but you can take only three tricks before surrendering the lead to East. The defender will shoot the jack of spades through your queen, and West will score four spade tricks for a one-trick set.

However, you were right to opt to play the hand: it was just your technique that was faulty. Obviously, East is the danger hand and every effort should be expended to keep that defender off. Come to hand with a red-suit king at trick two and lead a low club toward dummy. If West follows low, win with dummy’s king and return a club, finessing the jack if East follows with a low club. That guarantees the contract on any 3-2 split. But when West produces the queen, as in the diagram, you can guarantee the contract by allowing her majesty to win the trick. No matter what the defenders do, the club suit is set up and you collect 10 tricks.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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