Game all; dealer North


4Q 6 2

!A 10 9 3

#A K

2J 7 5 2

West East

49 7 4A J 10 8 3

!Q 7 5 2 !K J 6

#10 8 5 3 2 #J 9 6 4

2K 3 28


4K 5 4

!8 4

#Q 7

2A Q 10 9 6 4

North opened 12, East bid 14, and South faced his first problem. Clearly too good for 32, he considered 2NT but decided that (if partner passed) it was unlikely that the hand would play for exactly eight tricks. His final choice, of plunging to 3NT, was not too bad an idea. What would you have bid? 24, I hope - if partner has a spade bolster, the no-trump game may well play better from his hand.

With South as declarer in 3NT, West led 49. After the vulnerable overcall it seemed likely that East held the missing 2K, so declarer let the lead run round to his king, crossed to a top diamond, and ran 2J. West won, returned his remaining spade, and was delighted to watch his partner take the next four tricks.

That had been the second problem that South had failed to solve. In spite of 3NT being played from the wrong hand, he could still have recovered. Any ideas? Try the effect of playing 4Q from dummy at trick one! If east decided to duck, declarer finds that he has a second guard in spades. So, almost certainly, East wins and returns the suit but now South wins immediately, crosses to dummy as before with a diamond and finesses in clubs. the difference now, of course, is that West has no more spades to play and declarer has nine tricks.

Note the importance of winning the second spade and not ducking, for then an astute East will switch to a heary and so establish five tricks for the defence.