"My partner's a heavy complainer," a fan writes. "I think I could get hoarse listening to him."

As South, my fan took the ace of hearts, lost a trump finesse to the king, ruffed the heart return and drew trumps.

"I then led a club to dummy's queen, winning. When I led the queen of diamonds next, West took the ace and led another heart. I ruffed with my last trump and tried another club finesse with the jack, expecting to take the rest; but East produced the king and cashed two hearts. Down two.

GOOD PLAY

"Partner let me have it, but I thought East made a good play by holding up the king of clubs."

East did well, but South either was greedy or forgot to count. Once West showed the king of trumps and the ace of diamonds, East was sure to hold the king of clubs: after all, East bid; West never bid.

Moreover, after South forced out the ace of diamonds, he had ten tricks: four trumps, three diamonds, two clubs and a heart. It would have been better to take them.

DAILY QUESTION

You hold: S K 7 4 H 7 6 3 D A 8 7 4 C 6 5 2. Dealer, at your left, opens one heart. Your partner doubles, you respond two diamonds and he bids two spades. The opponents pass. What do you say?

ANSWER: Since partner doubled before bidding his suit, he promises at least 17 points. If your king were the "wasted" king of hearts, you'd pass; but since you have a "working" king plus a side ace, you may have a game. Raise to three spades.

North dealer

N-S vulnerable

NORTH

S 8 6 3

H A 10 5 4

D Q J

C A Q J 9

WEST

S K 7 4

H 7 6 3

D A 8 7 4

C 6 5 2

EAST

S 5 2

H K Q J 9 8

D 6 5 2

C K 10 7

SOUTH

S A Q J 10 9

H 2

D K 10 9 3

C 8 4 3

North East South West

1 C 1 H 1 S Pass

1 NT Pass 2 D Pass

2 S Pass 4 S All Pass

Opening lead -- H 7