Have You Any Wool?

"Make yourself a sheep," a Russian proverb advises, "and you'll surely find a wolf."

Today's declarer knew better than to finesse with dummy's queen on the first heart; he put up the ace. Alas, South's play attracted a wolf: East dumped the king under the ace to get out of West's way; and when South led a club from dummy, East continued his wolf imitation by rising with the ace to lead his last heart.

South won with the queen and led another club; but West took the king, and South watched sheepishly as he cashed three hearts to beat the contract.

TWO STOPPERS

South's approach was rather woolly; he must play low from dummy on the first heart, holding up with two possible stoppers since he must lose the lead twice to set up the clubs.

East's play doesn't matter. South wins the next heart with the ace and leads a club. Even if East won and had another heart to lead, South would lose only two hearts and two clubs. As the cards actually lie, South makes an overtrick.

DAILY QUESTION

You hold: S J 9 6 H A Q 5 3 D A K 7 3 C 8 7. Your partner opens one spade, and the next player passes. What do you say?

ANSWER: Some players would bid two hearts to show the four-card major suit. The correct response is two diamonds, which leaves room for partner to bid two hearts if he has four cards there. A heart response would make it harder to find a fit in diamonds; and who knows? Diamonds may be the proper trump suit.

Both sides vulnerable

NORTH

S J 9 6

H A Q 5 3

D A K 7 3

C 8 7

WEST

S 7 4 3

H J 10 9 8 4

D 8 5

C K 3 2

EAST

S 10 8 5 2

H K 6

D Q 10 9 4

C A 5 4

SOUTH

S A K Q

H 7 2

D J 6 2

C Q J 10 9 6

South

1 C

1 NT

West

Pass

Pass

North

1 H

3 NT

East

Pass

All Pass

Opening lead -- H J

Copyright 1999, Los Angeles Times Syndicate