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South had only eight high-card points, but his hand improved when North raised the spades. Against four spades, West led the queen of diamonds: four, deuce, nine. It's your choice: Would you bet on declarer or on the defense?

At the table, West led another diamond, and South ruffed and led a trump. East took his ace and led the ace of diamonds, and South ruffed again, led a club to dummy and returned a heart to his ten, hoping East had the K-Q. The defense then got two hearts: down one.

South succeeds with an end play. At the third trick he leads a club to dummy. He ruffs the king of diamonds, leads a club to dummy and ruffs a club. South then leads a trump, and East must break the hearts to South's advantage or concede a ruff-sluff.

You should have put your money on the defense, but only if West finds the defensive play of the year. If he shifts to a trump at Trick Two, East can win and exit with a club. South must break the hearts and lose two hearts.

You hold: A K 7 6 A 8 5 3 2 J 8 7 4. With only the opponents vulnerable, your partner deals and opens three hearts, and the next player doubles. What do you say?

A: The opponents can probably make four spades, and the player at your left is about to bid it. Since you'll sacrifice, do so right away; jump to five hearts. If the next player feels obliged to bid five spades, you'll pass since you should have a chance to beat that contract.

North dealer

Neither side vulnerable

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

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