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Cy the Cynic is a devout bachelor; he believes one can live as cheaply as two. Cy may be right, but when you're declarer, one chance won't go as far as two.

Today's declarer drew trumps and led a spade to dummy's queen. East took the king and returned a spade, and South came to the ace of diamonds and tried a heart to the jack. That finesse lost also: down one.

"Diamonds broke 3-3," North observed. "Concede a diamond and you get a 12th trick."

"If the diamonds don't break," South protested, "I must guess which major-suit finesse to take. To take both finesses was better."

How should South play?

South can give himself three chances. He must start by finessing in hearts. When East wins and returns a heart, South takes the A-K to discard a diamond, cashes the A-K of diamonds and ruffs a diamond. When diamonds break 3-3, South is safe. If the diamonds didn't provide three tricks, he could still finesse in spades.

You hold: A Q A K J K 7 6 3 K J 9 7. You open 2NT, your partner responds three spades, you return to 3NT and he tries four hearts. The opponents pass. What do you say?

A: It appears partner has five cards in each major suit and is asking you which major you prefer. Pass. You shouldn't consider trying for slam. Partner has limited high-card strength, and at least one of your minor-suit kings faces a singleton and will be wasted.

North dealer

N-S vulnerable

K 7 6 3
K J 9 7
J 9 7 5 3
8 6 4
Q 10 5
5 3
K 10 8 4
Q 9 7 5 2
J 9 2
6 2
10 3
A 8 4
A Q 10 6 4 2
North East South West
2 NTPass4 Pass
4 Pass6 All Pass
Opening lead -- 3

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