Rugged Individualism

Rugged individualism is "in" among our youth. A teacher asked a junior-high girl why she had on one blue sock and one red. She claimed she was an individualist.

"I have a right to be different if I want," she insisted. "Besides, all the kids are doing it."

Only an individualist would leap to six spades, gambling on finding just the right cards in dummy, instead of probing for slam or settling for game. West led his singleton, and the defense was poised for two clubs and a ruff; but when East won, South correctly false-carded with the ten.

NO PROBLEM

The jack or nine would have given East no problem: West would lead the jack from J-10-6 or the ten from 10-9-6. But West would lead the six from J-9-6 (though a club lead from that holding might be unlikely). So East pondered -- and led a diamond.

South won, led a trump to dummy, threw clubs on the K-Q of diamonds and finessed in hearts. He got back with a trump, finessed in hearts, drew trumps and claimed the slam.

DAILY QUESTION

You hold: S J 9 4 H 8 7 2 D K Q 8 C Q 7 5 3. Your partner opens one diamond, and the next player bids one heart. What do you say?

ANSWER: If your opponent had passed, you'd have responded 1NT; but after the overcall, you need a trick or two in hearts to make that bid. Nor should you raise to two diamonds; you might risk a raise with only three good trumps, but not when your hand has balanced distribution and looks poor for offense. Pass.

E-W vulnerable

North dealer

NORTH

S J 9 4

H 8 7 2

D K Q 8

C Q 7 5 3

WEST

S 7 6 5 2

H 10 9 4 3

D J 9 6 5

C 6

EAST

S None

H K 6 5

D 10 7 4 3 2

C A K 8 4 2

SOUTH

S A K Q 10 8 3

H A Q J

D A

C J 10 9

North

Pass

2 S

East

Pass

Pass

South

1 S

6 S (!)

West

Pass

All Pass

Opening lead -- C 6

Copyright 1999, Los Angeles Times Syndicate