South has two shots at today's contract: he can use the technique of "avoidance" (this week's topic); or he can hope East takes a nap on defense.

East must have looked drowsy, since South won the first diamond with the queen and led the jack of hearts to finesse. East took the king, yawned and returned a diamond; and South won in dummy and attacked the clubs. He was then sure of nine tricks and actually took ten by end-playing West with the fourth diamond, forcing a spade return from the king.

East was asleep when he led a diamond at Trick Three; West couldn't hold A-J-10-x-x of diamonds plus an entry. If East shifts to the ten of spades, he holds South to eight tricks.

South can almost assure the contract if he doesn't let East get in for an early spade shift. South should take the first diamond in dummy and lead a club to his ten. West wins but can't lead a spade effectively, and South has time for three clubs, two hearts, three diamonds and a spade.

DAILY QUESTION

You hold: S K J 4 3 H 8 7 4 D J 10 9 8 C J 7. Dealer, at your left, opens one heart. Your partner doubles, and the next player raises to two hearts. What do you say?

ANSWER: Bid two spades, though this is as weak a hand you could hold and be willing to compete. Partner has opening values or more and almost surely has four cards in spades. If you pass, the opponents may make two hearts when you could have made a partscore at spades.

Both sides vulnerable

NORTH

S 7 5 2

H A 6 3

D K 7 4

C 8 5 4 2

WEST

S K J 4 3

H 8 7 4

D J 10 9 8

C J 7

EAST

S 10 9 8 6

H K 9 5 2

D 6 3

C Q 6 3

SOUTH

S A Q

H Q J 10

D A Q 5 2

C A K 10 9

South West North East

2 NT Pass 3 NT All Pass

Opening lead -- D J

(C) 1999, Los Angeles Times Syndicate