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Put an O and an X on a piece of paper two inches apart. Close your right eye and move the paper slowly toward you, staring at the X. You'll see the O disappear. That's the effect of your "blind spot," a part of the retina insensitive to light.

Something similar happened to today's declarer. He took the ace of diamonds, cashed a high trump and muttered something ungentlemanly when West discarded.

Eventually South brightened up. He led a low trump to dummy's jack and East's queen, ruffed the diamond return, cashed the ace of hearts, and got to dummy with the 10 of trumps to try a heart finesse with the jack. Down one.

South had a blind spot when he refused a finesse that was proved to work for one that might fail. At Trick Three, he should lead the jack of hearts from his hand.

If West plays low, South loses one trump but no hearts. If instead West takes the queen of hearts, South gets to dummy with the 10 of hearts to pick up East's queen of trumps.

You hold: Q 9 5 9 3 10 9 6 3 A Q 10 5. Dealer, at your left, opens one spade. Your partner doubles, and the next player passes. What do you say?

A: Bid one no trump, promising six to nine points, balanced distribution and a trick in spades. This is a better action than a response of two of a minor suit, since you might bid a suit with no strength at all. Don't worry about your two low hearts; partner has promised heart support.

South dealer

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

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