N-S vulnerable

NORTH

S A K Q 5

H 7 4 2

D Q 10

C K 6 5 2

WEST

S 7 4

H 10 6

D J 9 8 5 4 3

C Q 9 8

EAST

S 8 3

H K Q J 8 3

D 7 6 2

C A 7 3

SOUTH

S J 10 9 6 2

H A 9 5

D A K

C J 10 4

North East South West

1 C 1 H 1 S Pass

2 S Pass 4 S All Pass

Opening lead -- H 10

"I have trouble with the rule about `covering an honor' when dummy has two or three honors in sequence," a pupil told me.

"Don't cover until the LAST honor in the sequence is led," I said.

"Fine," she replied. "But what if declarer plays an honor from his hand and I don't know if he has a sequence?"

"Then you must use your brains," I said.

South won the first heart, drew trumps, cashed the top diamonds and exited with a heart. East took two hearts and next led a low club, on which South offered his jack. West played the queen, covering an honor, and gave away the contract: South took the king and returned a club to set up a trick with his ten.

West must assume East has three clubs including the ace. If East also has the ten, West's play doesn't matter: South always loses two club tricks.

If instead South has the ten, East-West also prevail -- if West plays low on the first club. He covers the next club South leads, giving the defense two clubs.

DAILY QUESTION

You hold: S A K Q 5 H 7 4 2 D Q 10 C K 6 5 2. Dealer, at your right, opens one diamond. You double, and your partner bids two hearts. The opponents pass. What do you say?

ANSWER: Partner's jump response to your double promises about ten points: with more points, he'd insist on game; with fewer (even with none), he'd bid his hearts at the level of one. Since you have minimum values and your heart support could hardly be worse, pass.