Chicago Sun-Times - - WEATHER - BY FRANK STE­WART

“I had a tough prob­lem as de­clarer yes­ter­day,” one of my club’s bet­ter play­ers told me.

“Con­grat­u­la­tions,” I said. “You had a chance to shine.”

“But this was a re­ally tough prob­lem.”

“Then dou­ble con­grat­u­la­tions.” At four hearts, my friend ruffed West’s third high spade, drew trumps — West threw a di­a­mond — and led the ace and a low di­a­mond. West ducked, and dummy won. South next played a low club from both hands. He ruffed the spade re­turn and took the A-K of clubs but lost the 13th trick to East’s jack of clubs. Down one. “Too tough for me,” South said. How would you play four hearts? At Trick Four, South should lead his low di­a­mond through West, whose dou­ble marks him with the king. If West wins, South has 10 win­ners: five trumps, three di­a­monds and two clubs.

If in­stead West plays low, dummy wins, and South con­tin­ues with the ace of di­a­monds, A-K of clubs and a third club con­ceded. He can ruff his fourth club in dummy for his 10th trick.

Daily ques­tion

You hold: ♠ AKQ8 ♥ 62 ♦ K10963 ♣ Q 5. The dealer, at your right, opens one heart. You dou­ble, and your part­ner bids two clubs. What do you say?

An­swer: Your dou­ble risked an un­wel­come club re­sponse. Take your medicine and pass. A fur­ther call would show great strength. Some pairs use “equal-level con­ver­sion” here and could bid two di­a­monds with­out promis­ing ex­tras. Still, it’s un­clear that two di­a­monds would be a bet­ter con­tract.

South dealer

N-S vul­ner­a­ble

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