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"My wife's a perfect partner," a fan writes, "except that she expects me to be."

My fan was East. "Dummy played low on the first diamond," he writes, "and I signaled with the deuce. My wife shifted to a club, and South captured my king, led a trump to dummy and returned a spade.

"I played second hand low, and South's queen lost to my wife's ace. South ruffed the next club in dummy, drew trumps and lost a spade to my king. He later threw a diamond on a good spade and was home.

"My wife was doubly upset. First she said I'd misdefended. Then she said if I was going to misdefend, I should have bid five clubs. I told her if she wants a perfect partner, get somebody else."

I can't fault East for not bidding five clubs -- that contract will fail -- but an East who counts defensive tricks beats four hearts. The defenders can get no trumps or clubs, hence they need two spades and two diamonds. East should rise with the king on the first spade to return a diamond.

You hold: A 9 6 4 K Q 10 6 K J 9 6 3. You open one club, and your partner responds one heart. The opponents pass. What do you say?

A: You have no ideal action. A rebid of two clubs would suggest longer clubs, and a bid of two diamonds would promise much more strength. Bid 1NT despite your unbalanced distribution. Some players would have tried to avoid the problem by opening one diamond, but that solution has its own imperfections.

South dealer.

N-S vulnerable.

J 10 7 5 3
Q J 7 3
A 7 3
A 9 6
K Q 10 6
K J 9 6 3
K 4 2
9 6
9 4 2
Q 10 8 4 2
Q 8
A K 10 8 5 2
J 8 5
A 7
South West North East
234All Pass
Opening lead -- K

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