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"I used to be a real go-getter," a club player told me, "but now I have to make two trips. I always see how I could've made a contract right after I go down."

At four spades, my friend ruffed East's ace of hearts and cashed the A-K of trumps. When East's jack appeared, South led the ace and queen of diamonds.

East took the king and returned a heart. South discarded a club, but when dummy led a club next, West took the ace and led another heart, forcing South to ruff. South had lost control and went down three.

"I saw the winning play," South told me ruefully. "After I take the A-K of trumps, I keep a link with my hand by leading the queen of diamonds without cashing the ace."

No, East could defeat that line of play by not taking his king. But But South can cash the ace of diamonds at Trick Two and then lead the queen. If East returns a heart, South throws a club, wins in dummy, takes the A-K-Q of trumps and runs the diamonds, losing a trump, a diamond and a club.

To get it right the first time, plan before you play.

You hold: J 3 A 5 4 K 9 7 3 10 8 5 4. Your partner opens one spade, you respond 1NT, he bids two hearts and you return to two spades. Partner next bids three diamonds. What do you say?

A: Your hand has improved with each bid partner has made. Since he has tried for game, and all your honors are "working," you must make an encouraging move. Bid four diamonds, four spades or three hearts.

South dealer.

Both sides vulnerable.

6 2
K Q 6 3 2
5 2
9 7 6 3
10 8 7 5
J 10 9 8 7
A J 2
J 3
A 5 4
K 9 7 3
10 8 5 4
A K Q 9 4
A Q J 10 6 4
South West North East
2 Pass2 Pass
3 Pass3 Pass
3 Pass3 NTPass
4 All Pass
Opening lead -- J

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