Both vulnerable. East deals.


xJ 10 7 4 2

uJ 6 5

vA J 7

wA Q


xA 8 5 xVoid

uA K 10 9 u7 3 2

v8 4 2 vQ 9 6 5

wK 10 5 wJ 9 8 6 4 2


xK Q 9 6 3

uQ 8 4

vK 10 3

w7 3

The bidding:


Pass Pass 1u Pass

Pass 1x Pass 3x

Pass 4x Pass Pass


Opening lead: King of u

Don’t hang partner for refusing to sell out at a low level. A judicious underbid on these auctions will allow partner to decide the limit of the hand.

West’s opening bid might be out of fashion these days, but there are still plenty of players who like to bid a real suit rather than a nebulous three-card minor, especially in third seat. With almost all the honors in his short suits and poor spades into the bargain, North decided the hand was not worth an overcall in the direct seat. Note North’s jump to only three spades after partner reopened the bidding with one spade — partner could hold a king fewer and still reopen. South, with a maximum for a simple balance, continued to game.

West led the king and ace of hearts and continued with a third heart, won in the closed hand with the queen. The king of spades was led to the ace, East discarding a club and West exited safely with a spade. Since the club finesse was needed, South won the spade in hand and led a club to the queen, which held. The remaining trump was drawn and the ace of clubs was cashed. The fate of the hand hung on the diamond finesse, and it could be taken either way. Are there any clues?

Declarer did not hesitate for a moment. The king of diamonds was cashed and the jack was finessed and, when that won, declarer had 10 tricks. Why did South play East for the queen of diamonds?

West had shown up with 14 points and a balanced hand. With the queen of clubs as well, West would have had 16 points and would have opened one no trump! Simple, not so?

2013 Tribune Media Services

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