I got to the club one afternoon and was surprised to see Minnie Bottoms in the penny-a-point Chicago game.

"She missed the morning duplicate because of a dental appointment," a kibitzer whispered. "She said she feels lucky today."

Minnie and her old bifocals, which make her confuse kings and jacks, were unknown quantities to our Chicago players. I watched as Minnie led a club against 3NT, and South took the queen and set about making as many overtricks as possible. (After all, this was for money.) He led a diamond to dummy and let the ten of hearts ride. Minnie, peering through the mist, won with the KING and led the king of clubs.

South won, led a diamond to dummy and returned another heart. He had ten tricks but saw no reason not to take 11: he took the "proven" heart finesse with the nine. You should have heard the uproar when Minnie produced the jack and ran the clubs to beat the contract.

It was her lucky day all right; she wound up winning $65!

DAILY QUESTION

You hold: S 7 2 H K J 7 5 D 10 5 C K 10 7 4 3. Your partner opens one club, and the next player bids one spade. What do you say?

ANSWER: You'd like to show the hearts, but you need more values to bid a new suit at the level of two. Bid two clubs. If your partnership uses "negative doubles," you can double to show this hand; but since the next player may compete in spades, the descriptive club raise may work well in any case.

North-South vulnerable

NORTH

S J 10 6

H 10 4

D A K Q J 2

C 9 8 5

WEST

S 7 2

H K J 7 5

D 10 5

C K 10 7 4 3

EAST

S K Q 8 4 3

H 6 3 2

D 8 6 3

C J 2

SOUTH

S A 9 5

H A Q 9 8

D 9 7 4

C A Q 6

South West North East

1 NT Pass 3 NT All Pass

Opening lead -- C 4

(C) 2000, Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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AP-NY-01-11-00 0712EST