“You have all your Christmas presents wrapped?” I asked Un­lucky Louie. He has kids and grand­kids; Christmas is a ma­jor un­der­tak­ing.

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Frank Ste­wart Daily Ques­tion:

“If you’ve ever seen a butcher wrap­ping an or­der of pork chops,” Louie said grimly, “you’ve seen me wrap­ping gifts.”

Louie may be only fair at gift-wrap­ping, but he per­pe­trated some butch­ery as to­day’s de­clarer. Against six spades, West led a di­a­mond, and Louie took the ace, drew trumps and next led a club to dummy’s jack. East won and re­turned a di­a­mond.

Louie took dummy’s king and led a low heart to his jack, win­ning, but East still got a heart. Down one.

Could you avoid mak­ing ground beef out of the slam?

Af­ter Louie draws trumps, he should fi­nesse in hearts. If the fi­nesse lost, he would need the club fi­nesse. But when his jack of hearts wins, Louie can take the king of di­a­monds, ruff dummy’s last di­a­mond and lead the ace and a third heart. East is end-played, forced to lead a club from his queen. You hold: KQ1065 AJ2 ( A6 $ 5 3 2. Your part­ner opens one heart, you re­spond one spade and he bids two di­a­monds. What do you say? An­swer: A jump to three hearts would be ideal if it were forc­ing, but most pairs treat such a jump-pref­er­ence as in­vi­ta­tional, show­ing a hand such as K Q 10 6 5, A J 2, J 6, 5 3 2. Bid four hearts or, if you pre­fer to mark time, bid three clubs, a “fourth-suit” ac­tion that might get you to a win­ning 3NT con­tract. by Dana Sum­mers

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