South dealer

E-W vulnerable

NORTH

S 6 3

H 5

D J 10 6 4 2

C K 7 6 3 2

WEST

S 8

H Q J 10 7 6 3

D 9 7

C J 9 8 5

EAST

S J 10 9 5

H K 9 8 4 2

D K 8 5

C 10

SOUTH

S A K Q 7 4 2

H A

D A Q 3

C A Q 4

South West North East

2 S Pass 2 NT Pass

3 C Pass 4 C Pass

6 S All Pass

Opening lead -- H Q

You can make a fortune trading options on Wall Street (or lose your shirt if you're not careful); but a winning bridge player needs to retain all his options.

Today's South gave North few options in the auction, in effect bidding slam on his own. South took the ace of hearts, cashed the A-K-Q of trumps and led a low trump to East, conceding his trump loser so he could run the clubs without interruption.

When East next led a diamond, South took the ace, refusing the finesse since he expected two diamond discards on the clubs; but when he cashed the A-Q of clubs next, East showed out, and South had to lose a diamond.

South retains his options if he tests the clubs after he takes his three high trumps. If both defenders follow to the ace and queen, South concedes a trump to East and claims.

When East actually discards on the second club, South concedes a trump, ruffs the heart return, leads to the king of clubs and finesses in diamonds to land the slam.

DAILY QUESTION

You hold: S J 10 9 5 H K 9 8 4 2 D K 8 5 C 10. Your partner opens one diamond, you respond one heart, he bids one spade and you raise to two spades. Partner next bids 2NT. What do you say?

ANSWER: Your two spades was timid, especially since you fit diamonds as well as spades. Your hand is worth ten points; hence you might have jumped to three spades, inviting game. Since partner's 2NT says he's still interested, bid four spades.