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THERE WERE a number of ways in which South might have tackled the play in Three No-trumps, but the route that he chose had the merit of a successful outcome. It was not an easy hand.

East opened Three Spades and after two passes North doubled. This was primarily for take-out but it left South with a problem. Passing was a possibility but he decided to try for the vulnerable game by bidding Three No-trumps.

West led the eight of spades and declarer won the second round. It seemed certain that East did not hold the ace of clubs so, instead of wasting time by crossing to dummy first, he led the king of clubs from hand. West won and returned the jack of clubs. As there was no hurry, declarer allowed this to win and took the club continuation. A diamond to the ace and a return to the queen saw East discarding a spade and now the problem had crystallised - declarer needed four tricks from hearts.

South could place East with seven spades, three clubs, one diamond and therefore exactly two hearts. As the suit was now known to be 4-2 and even a successful finesse against the queen would not help, there was one chance that East's doubleton heart included the queen. The two top hearts brought the desired result and, after cashing the jack, there was still a diamond entry to dummy to enjoy the ten of hearts for the ninth trick.

North-South vulnerable: dealer East


] 5 2

_ A K 10 2

+ A K 5 2

[ 7 5 3

West East

] 8 ] K Q J 10 6 4 3

_ 9 8 7 6 _ Q 4

+ J 9 8 4 + 10

[ A J 10 9 [ 8 6 2


] A 9 7

_ J 5 3

+ Q 7 6 3

[ K Q 4