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Consider 3NT

Our fourth featured deal of last summer’s match between the Parliamentarians and the British Ladies is a missed opportunity in the bidding for the North-South pairs. But it gave East-West – the defence – a chance to shine.

East Deals
None Vul
K 10
10 8 6 3
A J 9
A J 8 4
9 7 5
K 8 5 2
10 7 6
W   E
A 7 2
Q 7 6 4
K Q 9 5 2
A Q J 8 6 4 2
9 5 4
10 3
West North East South
    1 ♣ 3 ♠
Pass 4 ♠ Pass Pass

West started with  K and continued with  Q. What should he play at trick three? Assuming his partner has a singleton ♠ (but not ♠ A), West can deduce his partner must have •Q to open the bidding, and five ♣s to choose 1 ♣(opening the higher ranking of equal length suits). This means that the defence have a trick to set up, but not a ♣ trick (declarer holding a singleton).
West for both teams switched unerringly to  2. Unless he does so, declarer can establish a fourth round winner in dummy to discard his loser. Declarer played  9 from dummy on  2, but East rose with  Q and promptly cashed  A to defeat the contract.
The missed opportunity was for North-South to bid to the easy 3 NT contract. The result of the deal - 4 ♠ minus 1 – was the same in both rooms, and the Ladies retained a slender lead. Next week we conclude our report.

ANDREW’S TIP: Two outside aces and a top honour in the suit that partner has preempted equals nine tricks. Consider biddingThree Notrumps.

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