Chicago Sun-Times - - WEATHER - BY FRANK STE­WART

Ev­ery part­ner­ship reaches spec­u­la­tive con­tracts; world-class ex­perts reach them quite of­ten. When the missing cards must lie a cer­tain way for your con­tract to suc­ceed, as­sume that they do.

In today’s deal, South scrapes up a 1NT re­sponse to his part­ner’s one-di­a­mond open­ing bid, and North, with a bal­anced 19 points, raises to 3NT. West leads the eight of spades, and South gulps when he sees dummy.

How should South play to give him­self the best chance?

South needs four club tricks but is short of en­tries to his hand. He must win the first spade with dummy’s king, pre­serv­ing his ace as an entry. South next takes the ace of clubs and leads the jack, and East plays low.

South must as­sume that the clubs lie fa­vor­ably. If he plays low from his hand, he will fail no mat­ter what; if West has K-x-x, he will play low also. So South must over­take the jack with his queen, hop­ing East started with K-x-x or K-x-x-x. The ac­tual lie of the cards re­wards the cor­rect play. Daily ques­tion

You hold: ♠ K93 ♥ AK32 ♦ A763 ♣ A J. You open one di­a­mond, your part­ner bids one spade, you jump to 2NT and he tries three hearts. What do you say?

An­swer: Your bid­ding has shown about 19 points, bal­anced. You can raise to four hearts, but your val­ues are so slam­mish that stronger ac­tion is best: Bid four clubs. You wouldn’t seek a trump suit at this stage, so your “cue bid” shows a great heart fit, the ace of clubs and slam in­ter­est. North dealer

N-S vul­ner­a­ble

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