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A French writer recently published a massive "Dictionary of Card Combinations," almost 500 pages on how to play single suits. As well done as this book is, it didn't help today's declarer.

South ruffed the second heart, drew trumps and ruffed dummy's last heart. He next tried the clubs: ace, king and then a third club from dummy. East followed low, and South consulted the "Dictionary" and put up the queen.

When West discarded, South ruffed the 10 of clubs in dummy and tried a diamond to his king. The defense took three diamonds to beat the contract.

South was right (by a margin of 2 percent) to play for the jack of clubs to fall -- but only considering his club holding by itself. Within this deal, he must finesse with the 10 of clubs to assure the contract.

When the 10 wins, South is home; but even if West took the jack, he'd be end-played and forced to lead either a heart, giving South a helpful ruff-sluff, or a diamond, letting South score the king.

You hold: K Q 10 7 6 Q K 4 2 A Q 10 2. Your partner opens one diamond, you bid one spade and he rebids two diamonds. The opponents pass. What do you say?

A: Bid three clubs, a forcing bid in a new suit. If partner next bids three no trump or three spades, you'll try four diamonds, suggesting slam interest with shortness in hearts. If he then cue-bids four hearts, returning the interest and promising the ace, you'll bid six diamonds.

South dealer

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

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