Both vulnerable. South deals.


xJ 9 2

uA 7 6 3

vA 2

wA 9 7 6


xA 7 3 xK 10 8 5 4

u5 2 uK 8

vJ 8 7 5 4 v10 6 3

w? 3 2 w? 8 5


xQ 6

uQ J 10 9 4

vK Q 9

wK J 10

The bidding:


1u Pass 2NT Pass

4u Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: Five of v

Study the diagram above, then decide: After the lead of the five of diamonds, can you avoid having to guess the location of the queen of clubs?

North’s two no trump is a forcing raise in hearts, guaranteeing four-card support. South’s jump to four hearts is the Principal of Fast Arrival, showing a minimum opening bid and no singleton or void. Substitute bidding three hearts for two no trump and you have a standard auction.

Declarer won the opening lead in hand with the king and immediately ran the queen of hearts to East’s king. East returned a diamond, won with the ace, and another round of trumps removed the enemy’s fangs. Here the declarers’ paths diverged.

One declarer cashed the queen of diamonds, pitching a club from the table, and then led the queen of spades. East rose with the ace and continued with a spade. Declarer finessed dummy’s nine, losing to the ten. The return of the king of spades was ruffed in the closed hand, and declarer tried to guess the location of the queen of clubs. Unfortunately, he was not up to the task.

The three finesses South took combined to be 8-to-1 in favor of landing the contract. But at the other table a veteran internationalist showed there was no need for the club finesse.

When the queen of diamonds was cashed, declarer discarded a spade from the table, then exited with a spade! The defenders could take two spade tricks, but then had either to lead a club, solving declarer’s problem in that suit, or a plain suit and give a ruff-sluff. That permitted declarer to trump on the table while discarding a club from hand.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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