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The Independent Culture
BEFORE I tell the story of this deal, consider the East hand. After two passes at game all, would you (if available) open a Weak Two Hearts? For some players it would be automatic, but I would argue that (a) the suit is not strong enough, (b) there's too much defence. Look what happened when East did not worry about these factors and did open Two Hearts.

South overcalled with 2 no-trumps (17-19 points, natural); North raised to 3 no-trumps. So North-South avoided (missed?) their 4-4 spade fit where game would surely have failed. Also, West led !J to queen, ace and three - giving South two tricks in the suit. East returned !10, which would have paid off if his partner had led from !J 9 precisely. South won. Next came a diamond to the king and East held off to shut out the suit.

South continued with a losing spade finesse and West switched to 2Q. After winning, declarer led another diamond. Again East ducked but took the next diamond and returned a club. South won, cashed his !9 and a top spade to reveal the position in the suit. Now he had an easy exit with a club to end-play West who was now marked with an original 4-2-1-6 distribution and had been forced to part with three clubs.

If East had returned a club at trick two? No matter - South wins and plays a diamond. If East wins this and plays another club, the spade finesse is not needed; if East ducks the diamond, the same sort of black suit end-play finishes West. (I leave you to work out the winning play after an opening lead of 2Q - but you will be unlikely to find it at the table.)

Game all; dealer West


49 6 3 2

!Q 2

#K Q J 9 3

27 4

West East

4K 10 8 7 45

!J 7 !A 10 8 6 5 4

#10 #A 8 5 4

2Q J 10 9 6 5 28 3


4A Q J 4

!K 9 3

#7 6 2

2A K 2