North and South vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} 7 3

{heart} K J 10

{diam} A 10 6 5 2

{club} 5 3 2

WEST

{spade} 8 6 5 2

{heart} A 4 3

{diam} 4 3

{club} J 10 8 6

EAST

{spade} 10 4

{heart} 6 5 2

{diam} Q J 8 7

{club} A K 9 4

SOUTH (D)

{spade} A K Q J 9

{heart} Q 9 8 7

{diam} K 9

{club} Q 7

The bidding:

South

1 {spade}

2 {heart}

4 {heart}

West

Pass

Pass

All pass

North

1 NT

3 {heart}

East

Pass

Pass

Opening lead: {club} J

I discovered bridge magazines as a beginner. I'd wait for the mail carrier, hoping he had a new issue; and if one was late, I displayed withdrawal symptoms. I still feel a tingle of anticipation when I get a new bridge magazine in the mail.

Of the three U.S. magazines, the American Contract Bridge League Bulletin is the widest-circulated. Besides ACBL and tournament news, it has instructional sections and humor.

Bridge Today is only 11 years old but has established a reputation among all players for solid instruction and entertaining commentary.

The elder statesman is The Bridge World; it's a must for experts and now has material for improving players.

In today's deal from The Bridge World, South ruffs the third club and starts the trumps. If West wins immediately, South is home: He can ruff a fourth club lead in either hand and reach the other hand to draw trumps. But if West ducks two trumps, South goes down: If he leads another trump, West wins and cashes a club. Careful defense also defeats other plays by South.

The Bridge World (bridgeworld.com), 717 White Plains Rd., 106, Scarsdale, N.Y. 10583. 1-800-366-1939. One year, 12 issues, $57. (Mention this column to get a book of selections from past issues.)

Bridge Today (bridgetoday.com), 3329 Spindletop Dr., Kennesaw, Ga. 30144, 770-529-8088. One year (six issues), $29.

To join ACBL and get the Bulletin among other benefits, call 1-800-467-1623 or try acbl.org.

1999, Los Angeles Times Syndicate