South dealer

Both sides vulnerable

NORTH

S A 9 7 5 3 2

H 7 5

D 10 5

C A 8 2

WEST

S J 10 8 4

H Q

D K 6 2

C K 10 6 4 3

EAST

S 6

H K 10 8 6 3 2

D Q 4 3

C J 9 5

SOUTH

S K Q

H A J 9 4

D A J 9 8 7

C Q 7

South West North East

1 D Pass 1 S Pass

2 H Pass 2 S Pass

2 NT Pass 3 NT All Pass

Opening lead -- C 4

South's bid of 2NT with no stopper in an unbid suit looks like a notrump hog's action, but there was method in his hoggishness: if North's clubs were K-x-x or A-x-x, South wanted the opening lead to come up to, not through, the Q-x.

Sure enough, South won the first club with the queen; but when he took the K-Q of spades next, East discarded.

South still had a chance. He led a diamond to the ten and East's queen, won the club return in dummy, took the ace of spades and tried a diamond to his jack. West won and cashed his clubs and the jack of spades. Down two.

South survived being a hog in the bidding, but not with being a pig in the play: he must overtake the queen of spades with the ace. If both defenders follow, South concedes a spade and has five spades, two clubs, a diamond and a heart.

When East discards on the second spade, South lets the ten of diamonds ride. West wins and leads another club, but South can finesse in diamonds again for nine tricks.

DAILY QUESTION

You hold: S 6 H K 10 8 6 3 2 D Q 4 3 C J 9 5. Your partner opens one spade, and the next player passes. What do you say?

ANSWER: You must respond, since game or even slam at hearts may be cold. Bid 1NT, suggesting six to nine points without spade support. It's unpleasant to bid notrump with this distribution, but your hand isn't strong enough to bid hearts at the level of two. If partner next bids two of a minor suit, you can try two hearts.