Chicago Sun-Times



Now that spring is here, I’m reminded that some contracts must be handled with the hopeful optimism of a Master Gardener looking through a new seed catalog.

If West had led a red suit against four spades, South would have succeeded easily. He could take the red aces and score all eight of his trumps with a crossruff. But when West led a trump, South was a trick short.

South took the ace of hearts, ruffed a heart, cashed the ace of diamonds, ruffed a diamond and ruffed a heart. He ruffed a diamond and drew trumps — leaving him with none. When he lost a fourth heart to West, the defense took the rest. Down one

Six tricks: South’s play could never make game. He must be optimistic and lead a diamond to the queen at Trick Three. He can cash the ace and crossruff for six more tricks.

That play risks a second undertrick, but South has more to gain than to lose. Even at matchpoint duplicate, he should try the finesse: Any minus score will be a poor result for North- South.

Daily question

You hold: ♠ 643 ♥ KJ53

♦ K1086 ♣ A 9. Your partner opens one diamond, you respond one heart and he bids one spade. What do you say?

Answer: If a jump-preference to three diamonds would invite game, that bid is ideal. But if three diamonds would be forcing (and many pairs so treat it), your hand isn’t strong enough to force. An invitation­al jump to 2NT is possible; so is a “fourth- suit” bid of two clubs, if that bid would not force to game. South dealer

N-S vulnerable

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