"I heard Charlotte does speech therapy," a player remarked to me. I nodded. (My wife is a pediatric speech pathologist; she does the important work in our family.)

"Well, I have a speech impediment I need help with," he said. "Whenever I open my mouth, my partner interrupts."

My friend had put up dummy's king of hearts, winning, and counted eight easy tricks. Since a 3-3 spade break would see him home, he took the A-K-Q. When East discarded, South led the jack of clubs next; but East took the ace and led the jack of hearts. Down two.

COLD CONTRACT

"I was explaining that 3NT was unmakable," South told me, "when partner butted in and said it was cold. I think he's crazy as well as rude."

South's dummy play needed therapy. After winning the first heart, he runs the diamonds. West can spare two clubs, but the fourth diamond fixes him: if he throws a heart, South can safely force out the ace of clubs. If West throws his last club, South leads four rounds of spades to end-play West.

DAILY QUESTION

You hold: S 10 9 5 2 H A 10 9 5 2 D 3 C 9 3 2. Dealer, at your left, opens one heart. Your partner doubles, and the next player passes. What do you say?

ANSWER: You must resist the temptation to pass; your opponent may easily take seven tricks at one heart doubled. Since your partner promises good spade support, take out the double to one spade. To pass, you'd need a solid heart holding such as Q-J- 10-9-5 as well as a better hand.

South dealer

Both sides vulnerable

NORTH

S A Q 6 3

H K 6

D Q 10 9 2

C J 10 4

WEST

S 10 9 5 2

H A 10 9 5 2

D 3

C 9 3 2

EAST

S J 4

H J 7 3

D 8 7 6 5

C A 8 7 5

SOUTH

S K 8 7

H Q 8 4

D A K J 4

C K Q 6

South West North East

1 NT Pass 2 C Pass

2 D Pass 3 NT All Pass

Opening lead -- H 5