This is my last bridge column of the season. Have a great winter and play plenty of bridge!

Q. 1—Sitting South, with East dealing and no one vulnerable, you hold:

♠️ J 7 5
♥️ A
♦️ K J 8 5 2
♣️ Q 10 9 8

The bidding has proceeded as follows:

East              South            West           North
Pass              1♦️                Pass          1♠️
Pass              ?

What do you bid?

A.—It’s tempting to rebid 2♣️, with thoughts of supporting spades later. Since this is a weak opening hand worth only two bids, I’d bid 2♠️ here. In case you’re wondering, 4-3 fits are acceptable, especially here where hearts can be ruffed by South.

Q 2—Sitting South and dealing, with North-South vulnerable, you hold:

♠️ K 10 9 7 6 5 4
♥️ 6
♦️ 4 3 2
♣️ J 5

The bidding has proceeded as follows:

South          West           North           East
3♠️             4♥️            4♠️             5♥️
?

What do you bid?

A.—Based on the bidding, it looks as if partner raised you on three spades and little else. It’s also likely that East-West will make 5♥️. However, if you advance to 5♠️, you will surely be doubled. Here’s where vulnerability enters the picture. Yours is unfavorable. If you’re doubled and set two, you will get -500. That’s worse than the -450 you will suffer if East-West make 5♥️. So I’d pass.

Q. 3—Sitting South and dealing, you hold:

♠️A Q 2
♥️K Q 10 5 4
♦️ 9 4
♣️ K J 2

What do you bid?

A.—This kind of hand produces lusty debate. Most players would bid 1♥️. But what if partner responds 1NT? With 15 high-card points, you’re three short of a raise to 2NT. But you have a good hand you don’t want to abandon. The only solution is to rebid 2♣️ with three pieces.

I’d open 1NT and take my chances of missing a 5-3 heart fit. At least I’ve shown my range and distribution. Opposite such a precisely bid hand, partner will know how to act.

Q. 4—Sitting South, with North dealing and both sides vulnerable, you hold:

♠️ A 8 7 5 4
♥️ J 9 2
♦️ Q 4
♣️ 10 9 3

North opens 2♥️ and East overcalls 3♦️. What do you bid?

A.—3♥️. It’s all but automatic under the Law of Total Tricks. In competition, bid to the number of tricks equaling your total trump. With nine hearts between you, bid to the nine-trick level.