"Are you on speaking terms with the guy called Grapefruit?" a player asked. He meant a member of our club with an acid disposition.

"He's on speaking terms with me," I said. "I'm on listening terms with him, like everyone else here."

"I cut against him at rubber bridge," my friend said, "and when his partner failed at 3NT, the man unloosed a tirade."

"What happened?" I asked.

"South took the ace of spades and A-Q of diamonds, led a heart to dummy and tried the king of diamonds. I showed out, and South won only eight tricks.

"Grapefruit started by calling South an idiot and went on from there. South couldn't get in a word. Since it was my turn to partner Grapefruit next, I suddenly remembered an urgent appointment."

South erred, though he didn't deserve verbal abuse. When West follows to the A-Q of diamonds with the nine and ten, South can overtake with the king and lead the eight to force out the jack. He wins four diamond tricks, nine in all.

DAILY QUESTION

You hold: S A 5 4 H K 6 3 D K 8 7 4 2 C 9 4. Dealer, at your left, opens one club. Your partner doubles, you jump to two diamonds and partner next bids two hearts. The opponents pass. What do you say?

ANSWER: Your two diamonds promised about ten points, and partner's two hearts suggests extra strength. If he had minimum values, he wouldn't double before bidding his suit; instead, he'd overcall one heart. Raise to three hearts.

East-West vulnerable

NORTH

S A 5 4

H K 6 3

D K 8 7 4 2

C 9 4

WEST

S K Q J 10

H Q 9 2

D 10 9

C Q 10 7 6

EAST

S 9 8

H J 10 5 4

D J 6 5 3

C J 8 2

SOUTH

S 7 6 3 2

H A 8 7

D A Q

C A K 5 3

South West North East

1 NT Pass 3 NT All Pass

Opening lead -- S K

(C) 1999, Los Angeles Times Syndicate