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East-West vulnerable, North deals

NORTH

♠A K J 8 6

♥K Q 4

♦K 8

♣Q 8 7

WEST EAST

♠10 4 ♠Q 5 3 2

♥10 9 8 6 ♥3 2

♦A Q 10 9 7 5 ♦J 6 3

♣K ♣J 5 3 2

SOUTH

♠9 7

♥A J 7 5

♦4 2

♣A 10 9 6 4

The bidding:

NORTH EAST SOUTH WEST

1♠ Pass 1NT Pass

3NT All pass

Opening lead: 10 of

Today’s deal is from a recent tournament “Down Under.” South was Australian Peter Buchen. He and his partner reached three no trump from the South side after a slightly different auction. We’ve deleted a couple of fancy bids that meant nothing here and gave you the auction that my grandmother and I would have had. No need to thank us. My grandmother, however, probably wouldn’t have made it. I’m not sure about me either.

Buchen had no choice on the opening diamond lead. He said a silent prayer and put up dummy’s king. This held the trick, but he was only up to eight tricks. The best chance for a ninth trick was the spade finesse, but Buchen was in no rush to take it. He cashed the ace of spades, hoping for a singleton queen, and then four rounds of hearts.

Buchen was about to lead a spade when a thought came to him. “I couldn’t find a singleton queen of spades,” he thought, “but maybe there’s a singleton king of clubs.” He cashed his ace of clubs and “great was the fall thereon,” as the late Edgar Kaplan used to say. Buchen had nine tricks and his contract. Well done!

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