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When a jet airliner landed on a runway full of potholes, the passengers endured a bumpy ride.

"We apologize for the rough landing," a flight attendant announced. "It's not the plane's fault or the pilot's fault. It's the asphalt."

Today's declarer made 3NT when the defense could have prevailed. He won the first diamond in dummy, let the queen of clubs ride and led a low club to his ten. He next led a spade to the ten.

When East won, he led a low heart: deuce, jack. But West then shifted back to diamonds (fearing that South had the king of hearts), and South had nine tricks. Whose fault on defense?

When West takes the jack of hearts, he should no doubt return a low heart as his only chance. South may have nine tricks ready to cash unless East-West take five. (If South's hearts were K-2, he would play the king on the first heart.)

But East was at fault also. He should save his partner from going wrong by leading the king of hearts, then a low heart.

You hold: K J 10 6 10 6 4 Q J 10 Q J 2. Your partner opens one diamond, you respond one spade, he bids two clubs and you return to two diamonds. Partner then bids 2NT. What do you say?

A: Your two diamonds was conservative; you would ordinarily have at most nine points for a preference bid at the minimum level. (An invitational jump to three diamonds would have been rather aggressive.) Since partner has tried for game anyway, you must cooperate. Bid 3NT.

South dealer

Both sides vulnerable

NORTH

K J 10 6

10 6 4

Q J 10

Q J 2

WEST EAST

9 7 3 Q 8 4

A J 7 3 K 8 5

8 7 6 5 9 4 2

6 4 K 9 8 7

SOUTH

A 5 2

Q 9 2

A K 3

A 10 5 3

South West North East

1 NT Pass 3 NT All Pass

Opening lead - 8