In 1995, there was an interesting fashion advertisement in The New York Times Magazine. In a cartoon, two young women were talking to each other on different pages. These were their lines:

“So what do you think of the new V.P. of Marketing?”

“There are only two things I don’t like about her. Her face.”

Although that is snide, it is funny. The key word for today’s deal, though, is “two.” How should South play in three no-trump after West has led the spade queen?

North’s bidding problem is difficult. Discuss it with your partner.

It is easy for declarer to get careless on this deal by taking the first trick, cashing the ace of clubs, and playing another club. With this layout, though, he goes down.

There are two ways to collect nine tricks: one spade, two diamonds and six clubs; or one spade, five diamonds and three clubs. South should try for both. Also, if he needs five diamond tricks, he should finesse dummy’s jack. (To cash the ace and king of diamonds immediately, hoping to drop the doubleton queen while declarer still has communication in clubs, is against the odds.)

South should win trick one, play a club to dummy’s king, then return a club to his ace. If the suit splits, he goes to dummy with a diamond to the king, and runs the clubs.

Here, though, when West discards a heart on the second club, declarer leads a low diamond to dummy’s jack, cashes the diamond king, and claims nine tricks.

This is a rare example of a deal in which “the honor from the shorter side first” is the wrong play.

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