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ON BRIDGE

"I suppose you bid spades to tell me where your strength lay," South snorted. "Why not raise hearts directly?"

Meanwhile, East put up the king of spades, and South won and led the ace and then a low trump. He hoped for good luck; but West took two trumps and led a club. South finessed with the queen, and East took the king and returned a club to dummy. South next lost a spade to West, who shifted to a diamond; and when East covered dummy's jack, South had to lose a diamond. Down two.

"The key part of my hand, scorned from start to finish," North sighed. What did he mean?

South must return the jack of spades at Trick Two. West wins and leads a club; but South takes the ace, ruffs a spade, cashes the ace of trumps, leads a diamond to the king and ruffs a spade.

South can then take the ace of diamonds, ruff a diamond and throw a club on the good spade. West ruffs and cashes a trump, but South ruffs his last diamond in dummy, losing two trumps and a spade.

You hold: K 9 3 Q 10 9 5 2 K 10 9 5 2. Your partner opens one spade, and the next player passes. What do you say?

A: Bid one no trump, promising six to nine points. To bid notrump with a singleton heart is unpleasant, but your hand isn't strong enough to bid a new suit at the level of two, and you'd need a third spade to raise the spades. If partner next bids a minor suit, you'll raise; if he bids two hearts, you'll try two spades.

South dealer

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

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