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South had an easy bid of four spades over North’s single raise, but good defense made him work hard.

When West led the jack of hearts, East overtook with the queen to shift to a diamond. South won; he was reluctant to try the finesse. South wanted instead to use dummy’s fourth club if possible, but even if the suit broke 3-3, South probably had to lose two clubs.

South led a trump to dummy and returned a club. If East had followed low, South would have played his jack, passing one of his club losers to West, who couldn’t afford to lead another diamond. But East put up the king.

South took the ace, led a trump to dummy and returned a second club: five, jack, queen. He ruffed the next heart, lost another club, and got to dummy with a trump to pitch his jack of diamonds on the good club.

At double dummy, South can make four spades even if he ducks East’s king of clubs. He can win the diamond return and run his trumps, catching West in a squeeze-and-throw-in.

You hold: ´ 4 2 ™ A Q 8 5 2 © 9 6 3 ® K 10 5. Your partner opens 1NT (16 to 18 points). The next player passes. What do you say?

A: You have options, depending on system. A Stayman response of two clubs is possible. Many players would respond two diamonds, a “transfer,” obliging opener to bid two hearts. Then responder would bid 3NT, showing a five-card heart suit, at least nine points and (probably) balanced pattern, letting opener place the contract.

South dealer

N-S vulnerable

NORTH

´ A Q 9

™ K 6 3

© 8 5 4

® 7 4 3 2

WEST EAST

´ 5 3 ´ 4 2

™ J 10 9 7 ™ A Q 8 5 2

© Q 10 7 2 © 9 6 3

® Q 9 8 ® K 10 5

SOUTH

´ K J 10 8 7 6

™ 4

© A K J

® A J 6

South West North East

1 ´ Pass 2 ´ Pass

4 ´ All Pass

Opening lead – ™ J