Fire Department
“If you think it’s right to fight fire with fire, remember that the fire department uses water.” — graffiti

Dlr: North ♠ K 8
Vul: All Q J 9
A K 7 6 3
♣ J 5 4
♠ 10 7 6 2 ♠ A Q 9 3
8 6 5 3 K 10 4 2
J 9 8 5 Q 10
♣ 7 ♣ A 10 3
♠ J 5 4
A 7
4 2
♣ K Q 9 8 6 2
North East South West
1 Dbl 2♣ Pass
3♣ Pass 3NT All Pass

Opening lead — ♠2
Try today’s deal as a defensive problem. Cover the West and South cards. Against 3NT, West leads the ♠2, dummy plays low and you take the queen. South almost surely has the jack, from both his bidding and his failure to put up dummy’s king on the first spade.
What next?

Long Clubs

South must have long, strong clubs since he bid 3NT with so few high cards. After the clubs are established, he may have nine winners. You can lead the ace and a third spade to set up your fourth spade, but you will come to only four defensive tricks that way.
To beat 3NT, you must fight fire (declarer’s long clubs) with fire (forcing out the only entry to his hand so he can’t use them). At trick two, shift to the K. If South takes the ace and starts the clubs, duck twice and win the third club. South’s hand is dead, and he will take at most eight tricks.

Daily Question

You hold:
♠ K 8
Q J 9
A K 7 6 3
♣ J 5 4
Your partner opens 1♠, you bid 2, and he rebids 2♠. What do you say?

A system in which your 2 was game-forcing would have an edge: You could bid 2NT, forcing, to leave room to investigate. In “Standard” methods, you have options, none attractive. Raise to 4♠, hoping partner has a six-card or strong five-card suit, or jump to 3NT, hoping he has club help.

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