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Unlucky Louie relies far too much on cold numbers. Louie may be cursed with bad luck, as he incessantly points out; but anyone who embraces the percentage tables and never plays the players will surely run into trouble.

In today's deal, Louie took the ace of diamonds and led three high clubs to discard dummy's diamonds. West ruffed in with the queen of trumps, and East's ace won the setting trick.

Louie took it better than he usually does. "I can finesse in hearts," he shrugged, "but it's a 50% chance. I get by with three rounds of clubs 80% of the time."

Decide how you'd play the hand before you read on.

Regardless of the numbers, South loses nothing by leading the queen of hearts at Trick Two. If West plays low, South can take the ace, ruff a heart and try the clubs.

In the actual deal, West is likely to cover the queen of hearts. South throws a diamond on the jack of hearts and leads a trump, making the slam when the trumps lie favorably.

You hold: K 10 8 7 3 Q A 5 A K Q 6 2. Your partner deals and opens one heart, and the next player passes. What do you say?

A: Bid one spade. Although a slam is possible, this is the wrong kind of hand for a jump shift to two spades (or three clubs). Since the best trump suit is unknown, you need plenty of room for investigation. When you jump shift, you should have a good idea of where you'll play the hand.

South dealer

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

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