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Today we complete our discussion of the questions in the Christmas Competition.

In question 4, as South with East-West vulnerable, you held:

4K Q 3 2

!J 9 7

#Q 4

210 9 7 3

West North East South

14 pass

pass dble 2! pass

24 dble all pass

Having decided to pass partner's second take-out double, what do you lead? 42, #Q, 210, 23 or something else?

It seems likely that your partner has some heart length and, to protect his holding, a trump lead suggests itself. In case he has a singleton or doubleton honour, a low spade seems best - it is unlikely, after all, that you will make more than two natural trump tricks, and you will still have them after the lead of 42. This would have my vote and, at the table, would have led to a penalty of 800 points. In practice, partner led #Q and we now had to work hard to collect 200. I suppose that a club lead is a possibility, with the ten looking less unattractive than the three, and leading to the same +200. Nothing else appeals.

In the final question, as West you had opened 1NT (15-17 points) and had been raised directly to 6NT against which North has led C9. How should you play?

West East

4K J 9 410 7

!A J 4 !K 8 3

#Q 8 4 #A K J 10 3

2A J 10 2 2K Q 6

You have 11 top tricks and the twelfth could come from a variety of sources: a straightforward heart finesse, a favourable view in spades, or even some sort of end-play if either defender holds something in spades and the guarded !Q.

A pleasing idea, which worked at the table, was to win the club lead in dummy, dropping the ten from hand and suggesting that you held only three tricks in the suit, and immediately lead 410 to the king! Consider, if South holds the ace or covers with the queen you are home and dry.

If North holds the ace (needless to say, without the queen) he may, if he is a good defender, duck in case you hold K,Q,9 and will now have a nasty guess on the second round of the suit. Finally, even if North does win with 4A and does not continue the suit, you will have the heart finesse in reserve. Winners: AJ Oddie, Frank Wharton and Tony Gladstone, who will each shortly receive a prize of The Complete Book of Bols Bridge Tips, compiled by Sally Brock, and soon to be published by Chess & Bridge Ltd (369 Euston Road, London NW1), who have donated the prizes.

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