Devilish Defense

Martin Luther composed melodious hymns for the church; he said there was no reason why the devil should have all the best tunes. Your opponents, devils though they may be, are entitled to make a good play occasionally.

South took the jack of hearts and tried a diamond finesse. East won and returned a heart; and down South went, losing four heart tricks.

"Cash the A-K of clubs first," North protested. "If nothing good happens, you finesse in diamonds; but when East's queen of clubs falls, finesse with the nine next and win four clubs and nine tricks in all."

PROVEN FINESSE

"Too tough for me," said South. "Besides, if East had the Q-10-4 of clubs, he could play the queen under my second high club. When I take the "proven' finesse in clubs, he wins and beats me when the diamond finesse might have worked."

South should make 3NT by giving himself the extra chance in clubs. If East is good enough to falsecard with Q-10-4, South must give the devil his due and pay off.

DAILY QUESTION

You hold: S 7 4 H A Q 9 5 2 D 6 5 C 10 7 6 2. Your partner opens one diamond, you bid one heart and he rebids two diamonds. The opponents pass. What do you say?

ANSWER: If you're a descendant of Don Quixote and like to tilt at windmills, bid two hearts, Otherwise, pass. Your partner has minimum values with six or more diamonds. Since he may have no hearts at all, for you to rebid two hearts on a ragged five- card suit would be folly.

N-S vulnerable

NORTH

S A K 9

H 6 3

D A 10 9 4

C J 9 8 5

WEST

S 7 4

H A Q 9 5 2

D 6 5

C 10 7 6 2

EAST

S 8 6 5 3 2

H 10 8 4

D K 7 3

C Q 4

SOUTH

S Q J 10

H K J 7

D Q J 8 2

C A K 3

South

1 NT

West

Pass

North

3 NT

East

All Pass

Opening lead -- H 5

Copyright 1999, Los Angeles Times Syndicate