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Slew of events planned for this month

I’m sorry about the non appearance of last week’s column which I thought was lost in cyberspace but I subsequently found sitting in my ‘drafts’ box. Got to learn to just press that send button! Let me start with some scheduling information for your diaries - The Non Life Master Pairs will take place on the nights of Thursday April 18th and April 25th and the Mixed Pairs , also known as the ‘divorce stakes’, will take place on nights of Wednesday May 1st and Friday May 3rd. Interpersed between the two , on Saturday April 20th is the very appealing sounding ‘Curry and Quiz Night’ which will no doubt be oversubscribed so get your name down at the Club as soon as possible. This week’s hand is short and sweet , but very instructive in bidding and play. Board 3. E/W Vul. Dealer South. 1086 J106532 65 64 973 542 Q A94 KQJ7 1098432 J10982 3 AKQJ K87 A AKQ75 South opened a strong 2 Clubs and North bid a negative 2 Diamonds … not knowing what to do next South made the panic bid of 3 No Trumps (because he didn’t know whether 3 Clubs would be forcing!) . This actually has no chance on the King of diamonds lead, but North now galloped to the rescue. by bidding 4 Diamonds as a transfer to 4 Hearts. Seeing no losers outside the heart suit South now leapt all the way to 6 Hearts and it is fair to say that dummy was a disappointment! First a bit on the bidding …..I like to play that after a 2 Club opener and a negative response ANY bid is forcing for one round except for 2NT which shows 22-24 and allows partner to decide . This takes a lot of pressure off opener on hands like this and many other two suiters. Secondly , North’s decision to play hearts is questionable here … partner may just have a solid Club suit and stoppers outside and that could include very few hearts, so I would actually pass with the North hand. Now to the play on the King of diamonds lead…..declarer wins and in the end decides that trying to cross to dummy in order to play hearts is fraught with danger and decides to play hearts from her hand ….which card should she play? There are only 4 hearts out and if they are 2-2 there is no right play and declarer is down one …so hearts must be 3-1 with a singleton honour for declarer to succeed, but should he play for a singleton Ace or a singleton Queen? The answer is the latter , as a singleton Ace does not help. If there is a singleton Ace the other defender will be left with Qx and another heart trick, so declarer must play for a singleton queen. At trick two declarer closed her eyes and banged down the King of hearts - works like a dream! All declarer needed was a bit of clear thinking in the play, though isn’t that always the case ?