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A couple I know thought their teenage son might have a future in finance, farming or the ministry. As a test they left a $5 bill, an apple and a Bible on the kitchen table and awaited developments. The result was predictable: The kid pocketed the bill, bit into the apple and sat down to peruse the Bible.
Many declarers grab every finesse in sight, hoping some will win. Today’s West led a spade against 3NT: ten, king, ace. South next let the jack of diamonds ride, losing. He won East’s spade return, ran the diamonds and took the club finesse, and West won and cashed three spades.
South tried too many finesses. Since West’s spades are a threat, South must dislodge his possible entry early. South takes the ace of clubs at Trick Two and leads another club.
West wins to continue spades, but South ducks and wins the third spade. He loses the diamond finesse but is safe when East has no more spades. If East did have a spade, South would still lose only four tricks in all.
You hold: ´ K 8 2 ™ Q 9 8 3 © K 7 2 ® 8 6 3. Your partner opens one diamond, and the next player bids one spade. What do you say?
A: A bid of 1NT would not be an error, but the best call is a conventional “negative double,” showing enough values for a response plus length in hearts, but the wrong type of hand for a bid of two hearts. If partner next bids 1NT or two hearts, you’ll pass. If he bids two clubs, you’ll return to two diamonds.
South dealer
Both sides vulnerable

NORTH
´ 10 4
™ J 6 2
© A 10 9 3
® Q 10 7 2

WEST EAST
´ J 9 7 5 3 ´ K 8 2
™ K 7 5 ™ Q 9 8 3
© 8 6 4 © K 7 2
® K 5 ® 8 6 3

SOUTH
´ A Q 6
™ A 10 4
© Q J 5
® A J 9 4

South West North East
1 ® Pass 1 © Pass
2 NT Pass 3 NT All Pass

Opening lead – ´ 5