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It's a nervous moment when your boss asks if you've got a minute, the dentist mutters "Hmmm," or a friend says, "That book I borrowed wasn't a first edition or anything was it?" It unnerves me when my partner looks at dummy and announces we're making an overtrick.

Today's South told North to expect three overtricks. South ruffed the king of hearts in dummy, led a diamond to his jack, ruffed another heart and took the A-K of trumps.

West showed out, and South could forget about ten tricks, much less 13. He cashed the queen of trumps and continued diamonds; but East ruffed the third diamond and led the queen of clubs, and the defense got two clubs and a heart. Down one.

South can put his partner at ease by announcing that the contract is safe -- and by leading a trump from dummy at Trick Two and letting East's jack win.

The defense can take two clubs, but South ruffs the next club, draws trumps with the A-K-Q and runs the diamonds to pitch his hearts.

You hold: J 10 9 8 10 9 8 4 8 5 Q J 10. Your partner opens two hearts (strong), you respond 2NT and he then bids three clubs. The opponents pass. What do you say?

A: Partner has a hand that will produce at least nine tricks even if your hand is worthless -- and it's far from worthless with four cards in hearts and two honors in clubs. Bid four hearts. If you bid three hearts, partner will expect a totally unsuitable hand.

West dealer

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

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