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Cy the Cynic defines a friend as someone who is always there when he needs you. Moreover, sincerity isn't Cy's strongest attribute, so I was surprised when he told me in the club lounge that he valued my friendship.
All I could do was nod.
"You know," the Cynic said, "if we were on a sinking ship with only one life jacket, I'd miss you and think of you often."
A good partner is there when you call on him. In today's deal, West's queen of spades won, but South's bid had promised about 10 points, hence West could see only two spade tricks and one club.
The only chance for a fourth trick seemed to be in trumps, so at Trick Two West led the deuce of spades. East took the ace and, obeying partner's suit-preference signal, returned a club. West won and led another spade, and when dummy played the king, East proved to be a good partner: He produced the six of trumps.
When South had to overruff with the ten, West's K-9-8 were worth the setting trick.
You hold: K 8 6 T A J 7 4 K 10 5 Q J 8. Your partner opens 1NT. The next player passes. What do you say?
A: You have plenty of values for game but not enough for slam. The issue is whether to use Stayman to look for a possible 4-4 heart fit. Since you have ample high-card strength, you're unlikely to need the extra trick that playing at hearts might provide, and a bad break might endanger a contract of four hearts. Bid 3NT.
West dealer
Neither side vulnerable

NORTH
K 8 6
T A J 7 4
K 10 5
Q J 8

WEST EAST
Q J 9 7 5 2 A 4
T K 9 8 T 6 3
Q 4 8 7 6 3 2
A 5 9 7 4 2

SOUTH
10 3
T Q 10 5 2
A J 9
K 10 6 3

West North East South
1 Dbl Pass 3 T
Pass 4 T All Pass

Opening lead - Q