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"My wife gave me a nice present for my birthday," a club player told me.

"Did she cook you a great dinner before the bridge game?"

"No, she let me win an argument."

He showed me today's deal. "My wife was West and led the ace of hearts and another heart."

"Well done," I noted.

"I ruffed and led the king of clubs. Declarer took the ace, drew trumps, cashed the king of hearts, led a trump to dummy and threw his last club on the ten of hearts. He led the jack of clubs, ruffed my queen and returned a trump to dummy to pitch a diamond on the ten of clubs.

"If I shift to a diamond at the third trick, we beat it two, but I argued that leading from the king was too risky. My wife didn't argue back, but I wonder what she'd have said if it hadn't been my birthday."

Presumably, West led the nine of hearts at Trick Two as a suit-preference signal: a high heart to show strength in the high-ranking side suit. East should have trusted her and led a diamond.

You hold: 8 7 5 K 10 9 8 2 K Q 9 8 7. Your partner opens one spade, you respond 1NT, he bids two clubs and you raise to three clubs. Partner next bids 3NT. What do you say?

A: To strain to play at the nine-trick notrump game is normal, but here you raised with a distributional hand that is light in high-card points, and you have a singleton in an unbid suit. Bid four clubs or, if you're vulnerable, five clubs.

South dealer

Both sides vulnerable

J 9 6 2
10 8 6 3
Q 4
J 10 3

A 9 7 4 2
A 7 6 3
6 5 4
8 7
K 10 9 8 2
K Q 9 8 7
A K Q 10 5 4
J 5
A 2
South West North East
2 Pass2 Pass
2 Pass2 NTPass
3 Pass4 All Pass
Opening lead -- A

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