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It's a wise rabbit who picks a hole with a back door as well as a front door -- and with a couple of emergency exits also. You never know when an extra escape hatch will come in handy.

Today's declarer took the ace of clubs, drew trumps, and led the king, ace and a low diamond. He hoped for a 3-3 break; but East discarded, and West won with the nine and led the jack.

South ruffed, but couldn't escape the trap; he had to try a finesse with the jack of spades, and East's queen defeated the contract.

South can give himself an extra chance in case the diamonds don't split 3-3 and the queen of spades is wrong. After drawing trumps, South should cash the ace of diamonds, ruff dummy's last club and lead a diamond to finesse with dummy's eight when West follows low.

East wins, but has no more diamonds and therefore no safe exit. If East returns a club, South ruffs in dummy and throws a spade from his hand; if East returns a spade, dummy gets a free finesse.

You hold: Q 10 8 6 3 7 Q 10 K 8 7 6 2. Your partner opens one heart, you respond one spade, and he rebids two hearts. The opponents pass. What do you say?

A: Pass unless you enjoy going down. Since partner promises a minimum opening bid with at least six hearts, game is impossible. A part score at clubs may be better, but a bid of three clubs would be forcing and would almost surely get you too high.

South dealer

North-South vulnerable
K J 4
K 9 8 4
A K 8 2
J 5
7 5
6 3
J 9 7 5
Q 10 9 4 3
Q 10 8 6 3
Q 10
K 8 7 6 2
A 9 2
A Q J 10 5 2
6 4 3
South West North East
1 Pass 3 Pass
4 Pass 4 Pass
4 Pass 6 All Pass
Opening lead -- 10

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