South dealer

Both sides vulnerable

NORTH

S J 6

H Q 5

D A 6 5

C Q J 10 9 5 3

WEST

S Q 10 8 4 3

H K J 9 2

D 10 9

C A 6

EAST

S 9 7 2

H A 6 3

D 8 7 3 2

C 8 4 2

SOUTH

S A K 5

H 10 8 7 4

D K Q J 4

C K 7

South West North East

1 NT Pass 3 NT All Pass

Opening lead -- S 4

"Your honor," the D.A. announced, "the People will prove that South misplayed and made 3NT only because West was negligent."

"Proceed," said the judge.

It seems South put up dummy's jack of spades and next led a club to his king. West took the ace and led the queen of spades, and South tabled his hand.

"I don't blame South for claiming," said the D.A. "If I were opposing this West, I'd want to save time to play as many hands as possible. West can count three spades, a diamond and five clubs for South. If South has the ace of hearts, the defense is helpless. So West must lead the king of hearts at the third trick. East wins the next heart and returns a heart, and South goes down.

"Moreover," the D.A. said, "South should overtake dummy's jack of spades with the king at Trick One, tempting West to continue spades if he gets in."

The Court dealt harshly with West but suspended South's sentence: if West is awake at all, a small deception won't help South.

DAILY QUESTION

You hold: S Q 10 8 4 3 H K J 9 2 D 10 9 C A 6. Your partner opens one club, you respond one spade and he raises to two spades. The opponents pass. What do you say?

ANSWER: This hand is worth at least 12 points: ten in high cards, one for the fifth spade (especially now that partner has raised) and one for the fourth heart (which you can ruff in dummy if you need to). Bid four spades. Many minimum hands from partner will give you a fine chance.