Both vulnerable. South deals.


xA Q 10

uQ 4 2

v10 9 8 2

wJ 6 2


x9 8 6 2 xJ 5 3

uK 8 u10 9 6 5

vQ 7 3 vK J 6 4

w10 9 5 3 wA 4


xK 7 4

uA J 7 3

vA 5

wK Q 8 7

The bidding:


1NT Pass 2NT Pass

3NT Pass Pass Pass

Opening lead: Nine of x

When this deal was played in a national tournament, three no trump was the popular contract, but it failed more often than not. Can you do better after West leads a spade?

The auction is routine. North’s two no trump was invitational and South, with a maximum, had an easy raise to game.

If there is a weakness in declarer’s holding, it is in diamonds. If East can gain the lead to play a diamond through declarer’s doubleton ace, the defenders might be able to collect three diamond tricks, which, together with the ace of clubs and king of hearts, will spell the end of declarer’s chances.

Declarer should win the first trick with dummy’s queen and lead a heart to the jack, losing to the king. West cannot lead a diamond profitably and will probably continue with a spade. Declarer wins on the table and leads a club. East cannot rise with the ace without presenting declarer with the fulfilling trick, so he must play low and declarer’s queen wins. South returns to the table with a heart to the queen to lead another low club and, when that fetches the ace, declarer has nine tricks — three spades, two hearts, one diamond and three clubs.

File the hand under ”A” for avoidance.

2013 Tribune Media Services

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