North-South vulnerable

NORTH

(S) Q 10 6 3

(H) 9 8 4 3

(D) A 7 2

(C) A 5

WEST

(S) J 9 2

(H) K 6

(D) 9 6 5 3

(C) Q 6 4 2

EAST (D)

(S) A K 8 7 4

(H) 5

(D) Q J 10

(C) K 9 8 7

SOUTH

(S) 5

(H) A Q J 10 7 2

(D) K 8 4

(C) J 10 3

The bidding:

East South West North

1 (S) 2 (H) Pass 4 (H)

All Pass

Opening lead -- (S) 2

There was an outcry (and a lawsuit) when a TV show revealed secrets of the illusions magicians perform. Nobody will sue me if I let my readers in on a bridge-expert secret.

Today's declarer plays dummy's ten on the first spade, and East wins and shifts to the queen of diamonds. South wins in dummy and loses a trump finesse. West then leads the jack of spades, and South loses a diamond and a club. Down one.

Now say South plays dummy's three on the first spade. East could win with the seven, but what if South's spade were the nine? So East will take the king and lead a diamond.

South wins in dummy and leads a low trump: five, queen, king. He wins the diamond return, leads a trump to the eight, ruffs a spade high and leads a trump to the nine. South next leads the queen of spades: ace, ruff -- and West's jack falls. South then goes to the ace of clubs and throws a diamond on the ten of spades.

Tip: try the effect of playing low from dummy at Trick One.

DAILY QUESTION

You hold: (S) A K 8 7 4 (H) 5 (D) Q J 10 (C) K 9 8 7. You open one spade, and your partner responds two hearts. The opponents pass. What do you say?

ANSWER: Bid two spades. To rebid a five-card suit is permissible -- and here is mandatory. A bid of 2NT would promise at least two cards in hearts and might induce partner to bid too high at hearts; a bid of three clubs would be a "reverse" and would promise much more than minimum values.

Copyright 1999, Los Angeles Times Syndicate