"You must be suffering from insanity," West chided his partner.
"Actually, I'm enjoying every minute of it," East laughed. Was he really a candidate for the men in the white coats?
South put up dummy's king on the first heart -- and East played low! That was enough to provoke West's comment: but when dummy led another heart, East played low again. South threw a diamond, and West ruffed and led a trump.
South drew trumps with the king and ace and led another high heart; but this time East covered. South ruffed, but since he couldn't get back to dummy, he lost two clubs and a diamond. Down one.
"Madman," West sighed. "Opens three hearts on that hand, won't take his ace and winds up with a plus score in spite of it all."
East was crazy like a fox; he found the only defense to beat the contract. If East wins the first heart and returns, say, a heart, South can ruff high, draw trumps ending in dummy, and win six trumps, two hearts and two side aces.
You hold: S A 3 2 H K Q J 10 D 8 5 4 C 6 4 3. Your partner opens one heart, and the next player passes. What do you say?
ANSWER: Bid two hearts. This bid promises a maximum of nine points, but your hand isn't quite as good as its high-card count suggests. The distribution is perfectly balanced, and the hand is full of losers. Moreover, the jack of hearts is a "wasted" point since partner should be able to draw trumps without it.
S A 3 2
H K Q J 10
D 8 5 4
C 6 4 3
S 7 5 4
D K 10 9 6 2
C K J 9 5
H A 9 8 7 5 4 3
D Q J
C Q 10 8
S K Q J 10 9 8
D A 7 3
C A 7 2
West North East South
Pass Pass 3 H 3 S
Pass 4 S All Pass
Opening lead -- H 2
(C) 1999, Los Angeles Times Syndicate