Katharine Hepburn said, “Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should just live next door and visit now and then.”

That is an interesting theory for Valentine’s Day. But this week we are looking at bidding sequences in which North and South try to decide between three no-trump and five of a minor.

Today’s deal is one of my favorites for capable classes. It features instructive aspects in bidding (what should North rebid over three clubs?), declarer-play (how should South continue in five clubs after East takes two spade tricks, then shifts to the heart jack?) and defense (what more effective play does East have?).

Note South’s jump to three clubs, which shows 9-11 points. North now wants to play in three no-trump if his partner has a stopper or two in East’s suit. So he cue-bids three spades, asking for a stopper. But when South can only rebid four clubs, North raises to game.

After East shifts to a heart at trick three, declarer must find the club queen.

However, declarer should realize that since he is missing only 12 high-card points, East must have that card. So South cashes the club king, then runs the club jack through East.

A more resourceful East spots one chance for the defense — if West can produce the club three (or higher).

At trick three, East leads his spade three. When West ruffs, it effects an uppercut. After declarer overruffs with dummy’s club 10, East wins a trump trick for down one.

© 2018 United Feature Syndicate