Lincoln, asked the size of Lee's army, replied, "A million men. We have 250,000, and whenever my generals get whipped, they say they were outnumbered four to one."

You can judge a player by his excuses. South ruffed the second heart, drew trumps and led the ten of diamonds. East won and forced South to ruff a heart with his last trump. South ran the clubs, but West won the last two tricks with the ace of diamonds and a heart. Down one.

"If I don't draw trumps," South alibied, "they get a diamond ruff."


South would do better to say a flying cow distracted him. After he ruffs the second heart, he must take the A-Q of trumps and next lead a diamond from dummy, hoping for a 3-3 break or a defensive slip.

East should put up the king to lead another diamond and get a ruff; but if he plays low, West wins and leads another heart. South ruffs, forces out the king of diamonds, ruffs the next heart, leads a club to dummy, draws trumps with the nine and claims.


You hold: S A K J 10 2 H 4 D Q J 10 C K J 10 9. Dealer, at your right, opens one heart. You bid one spade, the next player raises to two hearts, and there are two passes. What do you say?

ANSWER: Your hand wasn't quite strong enough to double first and then bid spades, but you shouldn't let the opponents buy the contract at the level of two when your partner probably has a few values. Double, asking him to support the spades or bid a minor suit.

South dealer

Both sides vulnerable


S Q 9 4

H 5 3 2

D 9 8 7 3

C A Q 5


S 5 3

H A K Q J 8

D A 6 4 2

C 6 3


S 8 7 6

H 10 9 7 6

D K 5

C 8 7 4 2


S A K J 10 2

H 4

D Q J 10

C K J 10 9

South West North East

1 S 2 H 2 S Pass

4 S All Pass

Opening lead -- H A