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DAILY BRIDGE CLUB

Counting, my topic this week, has many applications in dummy play. Declarer must count winners, losers or both. He may need to count the defenders' distribution or high-card points.

Today's declarer takes East's queen of clubs and sees five possible losers. A diamond and one heart are certain and a trump loser is possible. South must avoid losing a club and a second heart.

South can set up a high diamond for a club discard but must do so quickly. If he finesses in trumps at Trick Two, East may win and return a club, setting up a club winner before South's discard is ready. So South leads a high diamond.

East wins and returns a club, and South wins and takes two more diamonds to pitch dummy's last club. He then lets the jack of trumps ride, and East wins and exits with a trump, leaving South to guess the hearts.

South should count East's points. South has seen East, who passed as dealer, play a queen, a king and an ace. So South must lead a heart to dummy's king.

You hold: A Q 8 4 K J 10 5 7 5 4 3 2. Your partner opens one diamond, you respond one heart and he bids two clubs. The opponents pass. What do you say?

A: Bid 2NT, promising 10 or 11 points, usually with balanced distribution. A bid of two spades would be unnecessary -- your partner would have bid one spade if he had a four-card suit -- and it would be an error. By "reversing," you'd promise longer hearts and enough strength for game.

East dealer

N-S vulnerable

NORTH
A Q 8 4
K J 10 5
7 5
4 3 2
WEST
5 3
A 9 8 7
8 4 3 2
J 9 6
EAST
K 6
Q 3 2
A 10 9 6
Q 10 8 7
SOUTH
J 10 9 7 2
6 4
K Q J
A K 5
East South West North
Pass1 Pass2
Pass2 NTPass3
Pass4 All Pass
Opening lead -- 6

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