Neither side vulnerable

NORTH (D)

(S) A K 10

(H) A K 4

(D) 4

(C) K Q 10 9 5 2

WEST

(S) 5 2

(H) J 9 2

(D) Q J 10 8

(C) A J 8 4

EAST

(S) Q 6 3

(H) 8 3

(D) K 9 6 5 2

(C) 7 6 3

SOUTH

(S) J 9 8 7 4

(H) Q 10 7 6 5

(D) A 7 3

(C) None

The bidding:

North East South West

1 (C) Pass 1 (S) Pass

2 (H) Pass 4 (H) Pass

4 NT Pass 5 (D) Pass

6 (S) All Pass

Opening lead -- (D) Q

When South bid one spade, North's hand improved. North therefore improvised with a strong "reverse" bid of two hearts.

This bid was safe: if South raised hearts, he'd have at least four; but then North could safely return to spades since South would have at least five spades. (With four cards in each major, South's first bid would be one heart.)

At six spades, South took the ace of diamonds, ruffed a diamond with the ten of trumps, ruffed a club and ruffed a diamond. He cashed the ace of trumps, came to the queen of hearts and led another trump.

East took the queen and led another diamond. South ruffed, drew trumps with his last trump and took the A-K of hearts; but since he couldn't reenter his hand for the good hearts, he went down.

South must unblock by ruffing two diamonds with the A-K of trumps. He next leads the ten of trumps, overtaking with the jack so he can force out the queen. South can then ruff the return, draw trumps and run the hearts.

DAILY QUESTION

You hold: (S) 5 2 (H) J 9 2 (D) Q J 10 8 (C) A J 8 4. Your partner opens one spade, you respond 1NT and he bids two hearts. The opponents pass. What do you say?

ANSWER: Since partner may have 18 points, game is possible. A return to two spades is reasonable -- he'll bid again with extra strength -- but if you're confident of your dummy play, bid an aggressive 2NT, suggesting a maximum 1NT response with strength in the minor suits.

(C) 1999, Los Angeles Times Syndicate