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ON BRIDGE

"My try for game was hungry," a fan writes, "but I'd held miserable cards all night. For all I knew, it was my only chance to win a rubber.

"I took the second club, drew trumps, and led the A-K and a low diamond. East won and led a spade, and down I went.

"My partner told me I should pass two hearts because my king of spades was worthless -- easy for her to say since she was about 5000 points ahead at the time. Don't the odds favor bidding pushy vulnerable games?"

The fault was not in the bidding but in South's play that she was a loser. It was correct to try for a third diamond trick, provided South kept East out of the lead.

South should start the diamonds by leading dummy's 10, planning to play low from her hand. When East covers with an honor, South wins, takes the A-K of trumps, and leads the nine of diamonds, again planning to play low. When East covers again, South wins and leads a third diamond toward dummy, setting up the seven for her tenth trick.

You hold: 10 8 3 K Q 2 10 9 7 3 A 8 4. Your partner opens one diamond, you raise to two diamonds, and he then bids three clubs. The opponents pass. What do you say?

A: Partner suggests game, and since you have top values for your raise, you go along. A jump to four diamonds might work; a better bid is three hearts, promising heart strength (but not length, since you didn't bid one heart). If partner next bids three no trump, you'll pass.

South dealer

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

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