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"Set your clocks back an hour tonight," Mabel, our club manager, called out as the evening duplicate wound down.

North at my table was Millard Pringle, a sweet little man who once told me he'd moved because he heard most accidents happen close to home.

"They should make that time change easier," Millard mumbled. "It's hard to get up at two in the morning to reset your clocks."

"Just bid, Millard," South sighed. So North-South got to 3NT, and my partner, West, led a heart. Dummy won and led a club. I took the ace and returned a heart, and West took South's jack and led a third heart.

South then had eight tricks. When he tried the diamond finesse, West won and cashed two hearts. Down one.

South's sense of timing needed to be reset; he must finesse in diamonds at Trick Two. If the finesse won, South could force out the ace of clubs for nine tricks. When the finesse loses, West can't lead another heart effectively, and South has time to set up the clubs.

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

A: Bid 3NT. Since you have solid high-card values and balanced distribution, you can offer partner a choice of games. If he also has balanced distribution or raised with three-card spade support, he can pass. If he has four spades or a shapely hand, he'll bid again.

South dealer

Both sides vulnerable

10 4 2
Q J 5 2
K J 8 3 2
K 7 6
Q 10 6 5 4
K 7 4
9 5
Q 9 8
9 7 3 2
10 9 8 6
A 6
A J 5 3
K J 8
A 3
Q 10 7 4
1 Pass1 Pass
1 Pass3 Pass
3 NTAll Pass
Opening lead -- 5

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