Humorist Sam Levenson on consequences: "You must pay for your sins. If you've already paid, please ignore this notice."

West's double of six diamonds may have betrayed a little greed, but his opening lead of the ace of hearts hardly seems on a par with gluttony, lust and sloth. Nevertheless, South, who took pride in his dummy play, made him pay. South ruffed, cashed the three top trumps, finessed with the queen of spades and ruffed a heart.

HEART RUFFS

South next led a club to dummy and ruffed a third heart with his last trump. He then led clubs; and when West ruffed, he had to lead a spade from the king, conceding the slam.

West was angry at himself and envious of South's good play, and it's true West prevails if he leads a club or a high trump: since South lacks the entries to ruff three hearts and set up the end play, he loses a spade and a trump.

Still, it's hard to classify leading an ace against a slam when you also have a certain trump trick as a mortal sin.

DAILY QUESTION

You hold: S A Q 4 3 H 10 7 5 4 D 6 5 C A K 5. Your partner opens one diamond, you respond one heart and he raises to two hearts. The opponents pass. What do you say?

ANSWER: Partner has minimum values. He probably has four-card heart support but may have raised with only three-card support and a distributional hand. Bid 3NT (or, if you like, probe with a bid of two spades). Partner will go to four hearts only with four good trumps.

East dealer

Both sides vulnerable

NORTH

S A Q 4 3

H 10 7 5 4

D 6 5

C A K 5

WEST

S K 10 9 8 5

H A J 6

D J 10 7 2

C 4

EAST

S 7

H K Q 9 8 3 2

D 4

C 10 9 8 7 3

SOUTH

S J 6 2

H None

D A K Q 9 8 3

C Q J 6 2

East South West North

Pass 1 D 1 S 3 NT

Pass 4 D Pass 5 D

Pass 6 D Dbl All Pass

Opening lead -- H A

(c) 1999, Los Angeles Times Syndicate