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Neither vulnerable, East deals

NORTH

♠10 7 6 3

♥K 2

♦K Q 6 5

♣J 10 2

WEST EAST

♠K J 9 5 4 ♠Q

♥Q J 10 8 7 5 ♥9 4

♦10 7 ♦8 4 3

♣Void ♣K Q 9 8 7 4 3

SOUTH

♠A 8 2

♥A 6 3

♦A J 9 2

♣A 6 5

The bidding:

EAST SOUTH WEST NORTH

3♣ 3NT All pass

Opening lead: Queen of ♥

A three no trump overcall of an opponent’s three-level pre-empt is a wide ranging bid. The South hand in today’s deal is not an absolute minimum for the bid. It is certainly dangerous, but that’s why people pre-empt.

There were only eight tricks, but it seemed likely that East held all seven of the missing clubs. Careful play might allow declarer to end play East and win a second club trick. This would require East to hold no more than two spades and no more than three hearts. Holding only six cards outside of his club suit, there was a good chance for East to have the needed distribution. South started by ducking the opening heart lead in both hands. West continued with a low heart to dummy’s king, and declarer next led a low spade from dummy and ducked in his hand. West overtook East’s queen with the king and led the jack of hearts to South’s ace.

The ace of spades was next and South was pleased to see East show out. East had also discarded on the third heart, so all that was needed at this point was to extract East’s diamonds so that he wouldn’t have a safe exit card. The ace, jack, and queen of diamonds did the trick and South led dummy’s jack of clubs and played low from his hand when East covered with the queen. East was forced to lead another club, which South ran to dummy’s 10 for his precious ninth trick. Well played! (01/30/18)