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This week’s deals have treated finesses — and avoiding the pain of losing one you need to win. Cover today’s East-West cards. Plan your play at four spades when West leads the queen of hearts. (Needless to say, don’t rely on any finesses.)

The actual declarer was a finesser: He won the first heart and led a trump to his queen. West took the king, cashed a heart and led a diamond.

South won and led a second trump to his ace. He next took the A-K of clubs. When no queen appeared, South desperately finessed with dummy’s jack of diamonds. He went down two, losing a diamond, a club, a heart and two trumps.

SURE THING

South had an almost sure thing. He takes the ace of trumps at Trick Two, cashes the A-K of diamonds and ruffs dummy’s jack. South then exits with a heart.

The defender who wins is stuck. If he leads a club, he guesses the queen for South; if a diamond, South gets a helpful ruff-sluff; if a trump, declarer loses only one trump no matter how the suit lies.

DAILY QUESTION

You hold: S 6 4 3 H A 4 D A K J C A J 5 4 2. Neither side vulnerable. The dealer, at your left, opens three hearts. Two passes follow. What do you say?

ANSWER: Your opponent’s preempt has taken away your bidding room and forces you to guess. To avoid being stolen from, you must assume your partner has a decent share of the missing strength. Bid 3NT and hope he won’t disappoint you. He must assume that you are relying on him for some points.

North dealer

N-S vulnerable

NORTH

S 6 4 3

H A 4

D A K J

C A J 5 4 2

WEST

S K J 9

H Q J 10 5

D 9 6 5 2

C 8 7

EAST

S 10

H K 9 7 3 2

D Q 10 8 4

C Q 9 6

SOUTH

S A Q 8 7 5 2

H 8 6

D 7 3

C K 10 3

North East South West
1 NT Pass 4 S All Pass

Opening lead — H Q

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