Salma Hayek said, “Life is tough, and if you have the ability to laugh at it, you have the ability to enjoy it.”

This week has featured some tougher-than-usual plays. Here is another. South is in three no-trump. West leads a fourth-highest heart six, and East produces the king. What should declarer do?

The auction was natural, South’s two-no-trump rebid denying four hearts. Note that if you play two-over-one game-force, South’s rebid indicates 12-14 points or 18- 19 points; there is no need to jump to three no-trump, because two no-trump is forcing. Then, with 18-19, if responder, as he does here, raises to three no-trump, opener nudges to four notrump to invite a slam. (Some pairs play that to rebid three no-trump indicates a 5-3-3-2 hand with 15- 17 points that did not look right for a one-no-trump opening.)

South starts with six top tricks: two hearts (given trick one), two diamonds and two clubs. He can hope to get at least three winners from spades, but the defender with that ace will surely duck the first round of the suit. Then declarer will need two hand entries: one to knock out the spade ace and the other to cash the established winners. What are South’s two entries?

He has only the heart ace and diamond ace. So, to make the contract, South must not win the first trick.

Let’s assume East shifts to a diamond. Declarer wins on the board and leads the spade queen. When it holds, he crosses to the heart ace and drives out the spade ace, here ending with an overtrick.

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