Both sides vulnerable

NORTH (D)

(S)K 9 7 4 3 2

(H)K 9 8

(D)K

(C)6 5 3

WEST

(S)A 5

(H)J 6

(D)Q J 9 8 4 2

(C)Q J 9

EAST

(S)None

(H)10 7 5 4 3 2

(D)10 7 6 5 3

(C)A K

SOUTH

(S)Q J 10 8 6

(H)A Q

(D)A

(C)10 8 7 4 2

THE BIDDING

North East South West

Pass Pass 1(S) Pass

4(S) All Pass

Opening lead Q

The Dormouse was one of Wonderland's best players -- when he managed to stay awake. In today's deal Alice, as West, led the queen of diamonds against the Mad Hatter's four spades.

The Hatter hated his prospects -- it seemed he had three clubs and a trump to lose -- but he saw a chance for an endplay. He took the ace of diamonds, cashed the ace of hearts and overtook the queen with dummy's king.

The Queen of Hearts, who was kibitzing, gave declarer a vicious look; she never liked being captured. But the Hatter ruffed dummy's last heart and led a trump to Alice's ace.

If Alice had led a club next, the Dormouse could take two clubs but would then have to lead a red card. The Hatter would ruff, discard dummy's last club and claim.

Luckily for the defense, the Dormouse was wide awake: On the ace of trumps he pitched the ace of clubs, and when Alice led her last trump next, East threw the king of clubs. The Hatter then lost three clubs to Alice. Down one.

Daily Question

You hold:

(S)K 9 7 4 3 2 (H) 9 K 9 8 (D)8 K (C)7 6 5 3.

Your partner opens one diamond, you respond one spade, and he next bids two hearts. The opponents pass. What do you say?

Answer: Bid two spades and await your partner's next action. His first two bids constitute a "reverse" and promise great strength; hence, he won't pass. If he bids 2NT next, you'll raise to 3NT; if he supports your spades or rebids his hearts, you'll bid game at the major suit.