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We were relaxing in the lounge, reviewing the evening's duplicate game, when Cy the Cynic brought up today's deal.

"I landed at four spades," Cy told us, "and West led the queen of diamonds. I played safe for 10 tricks and plus 620: I took the ace, ruffed a diamond, came to the ace of clubs -- refusing the finesse -- and ruffed a diamond. I lost a club and two hearts. The question is, should I have tried the club finesse for an overtrick?"

"I think not," I observed. "The contract looks favorable; not everyone will reach four spades. Some will play at 3NT and may take nine tricks at most for plus 600 points. If West has the king of clubs, you may go down if you finesse, but by refusing the finesse, you may get a fine result indeed."

Unlucky Louie was sitting there -- quietly.

"What did you do on the deal?" I asked him.

"I got to four spades," Louie shrugged.


"The opening lead was a trump," growled Louie. "Now try to make the contract."

You hold: A K J 10 8 7 J 7 A 6 4 A 2. Your open one spade, and your partner responds 1NT. Today's South rebid three spades. Do you agree or would you choose a different action?

A: A rebid of three spades is beyond criticism, but many experts would prefer a raise to 2NT or even to 3NT. The distribution is almost balanced, and the chance of taking nine fast tricks with the help of the semi-solid spades and the side aces is attractive.

South dealer

N-S vulnerable

Q 9
K 5 4 3 2
Q J 6 5 4
4 3
10 8 6
Q J 10 5 3
K 9 3
6 5 2
A Q 9
K 9 8 2
10 8 7
A K J 10 8 7
J 7
A 6 4
A 2
South West North East
1 Pass1 NTPass
3 Pass4 All Pass
Opening lead -- Q

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