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ON BRIDGE

It's a mystery why North bid two diamonds instead of one no trump. If he didn't want to be declarer, he might instead have raised to two spades. Anyway, when South tried two no trump, North bid game gratefully.

South took the ace of hearts and led a spade. West played second hand low, and dummy's queen won. South then forced out the ace of diamonds and took four diamonds, two hearts, two clubs and a spade.

"Grab the first spade to return a heart," East growled.

"No way to know," West shrugged.

LOOKS AT ACE

West should be suspicious because he's looking at the ace of diamonds. South must be up to something when he doesn't lead dummy's long suit promptly.

South's bidding suggests about 11 points. If he has the king of spades as well as the ace of hearts, he can't have the A-Q of clubs. If West takes the ace of spades, he may give South eight tricks -- four spades, two hearts, two clubs -- but not nine. What West can't do is let South steal a spade, then attack the diamonds.

You hold: A 10 6 J 9 6 4 2 A 7 5 J 8. Your partner opens one club, you respond one heart and he rebids two clubs. The opponents pass. What do you say?

A: Bid two no trump. This bid usually promises about 11 points, but your hand is worth a slightly aggressive move. Your jack of clubs will help to establish partner's long suit, your aces are fast tricks, and your nine of hearts and 10 of spades may prove to be useful cards.

North dealer

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

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