Neither side vulnerable

NORTH

(S) 8 3 2

(H) Q 10

(D) K J 6 5 2

(C) A K 5

WEST

(S) A

(H) J 9 6 3 2

(D) 10 7 4

(C) Q J 10 9

EAST

(S) 10 5

(H) A 7 4

(D) 9 3

(C) 8 7 6 4 3 2

SOUTH (D)

(S) K Q J 9 7 6 4

(H) K 8 5

(D) A Q 8

(C) None

The bidding:

South West North East

1 (S) Pass 2 (D) Pass

3 (S) Pass 4 (S) Pass

6 (S) All Pass

Opening lead -- (C) Q

Today's South bid himself into a hopeless contract -- but brought the play to a successful confusion.

When South, a famous expert, leaped to six spades, he gambled on finding North with a major-suit ace. It would have been more discreet to cue-bid five diamonds over North's four spades. North would sign off at five spades, and South would pass.

A heart lead would have been fatal, but West had a natural lead: the queen of clubs. South promptly took the A-K -- and threw the eight and queen of diamonds! He then led a trump and tried to look confident.

West took the ace and was sufficiently confused. He was sure South had no more diamonds; and then, unless South had both top hearts, he couldn't get home (unless West led a heart, and South had the ace and guessed to play the ten from dummy). So West led a club.

South ruffed and drew trumps. He then produced the ace of diamonds, got to dummy with the eight of trumps and ran the diamonds to make the slam.

DAILY QUESTION

You hold: (S) 8 3 2 (H) Q 10 (D) K J 6 5 2 (C) A K 5. You open one diamond, your partner bids one heart and the next player overcalls one spade. What do you say?

ANSWER: Be grateful for your opponent's bid. If he'd passed, you'd have been forced to rebid and would have had to hold your nose and try 1NT despite the weak spades. Since the overcall relieves you of your duty to bid (partner will get another chance), pass to suggest minimum values.

(C) 1999, Los Angeles Times Syndicate