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ON BRIDGE

"Even a novice would know to play second hand high in that situation," West grumbled after today's deal. What do my readers think?

East ruffed dummy's king on the second club and led a diamond. South won in dummy and led the king and then a low trump, and East played the five and seven.

South figured West probably had a singleton somewhere for his preempt, but might have led a red singleton instead of the ace of clubs. Backing his judgment, South put in the eight of trumps, drew trumps, lost a heart to the ace and claimed.

"Play the nine on the second trump and he's down," West huffed.

Let East play the nine of trumps. South wins and starts the hearts. East wins the second heart and leads another diamond; and South wins in dummy, ruffs a winning heart(!), leads a diamond to dummy and throws his last diamond on the last heart. At Trick 12 South has the A-8 of trumps behind East's J-7.

West should applaud both South and East for courageous plays.

You hold: K 2 K Q J 9 A Q 10 8 K 9 6. Dealer, at your right, opens one spade. You double, and your partner bids two hearts. The opponents pass. What do you say?

A: Bid three hearts. Since all your honors looked well placed, particularly the king of spades, to bid game yourself is tempting. Your partner has fewer than nine points, however, and may have none. If he has as many as six or seven points, he'll accept your invitation.

West dealer

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

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