Ann Landers said, “Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.”

A good bridge partnership is like that. In this deal, East had to be understanding of her partner’s losing opening lead. Look at the West hand. What did she lead against six clubs after the given sequence?

The first two rounds of the bidding were fine. But over three diamonds, South should have bid three notrump to show her heart stoppers.

If South had done that, North would have had an unenviable decision. Probably he would have insisted on a slam contract one way or another, but might have only invited with four no-trump; though that would have been cautious, despite the singleton club.

At the table, when South jumped a second time in clubs, North raised to six clubs.

From the auction, it sounded as if South did not have a heart control, because she had not bid three notrump. So, understandably, West led the heart seven. Declarer won with her jack and planned to draw two rounds of trumps, then try to discard her diamond losers on dummy’s top spades. When the club queen obligingly dropped under the ace, South claimed 13 tricks: seven clubs, three hearts and three spades.

If West had led a diamond, declarer would have had to avoid a trump loser. The percentage play is a first-round finesse, which would have been fatal here.

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