We can be thankful that no Special Prosecutor pores over each deal we play, looking for mistakes to present to a Grand Jury. Even top experts goof quite often.

Today's East signaled encouragement with the seven on the first diamond. South played low, won the next diamond, drew trumps, ruffed dummy's last diamond, took the top clubs and led a heart from dummy: three, nine, jack.

West was helpless: if he took the ace of hearts next, South's king would score; if West led a club or a diamond, South would ruff in dummy and pitch a heart, again losing only two hearts and a diamond.

South did well to refuse the first diamond. If he took the ace, East could win a diamond trick later and lead a heart, saving West from the end play.

A Grand Jury would indict East for not overtaking the queen of diamonds with the king. If South played low, East could shift to a heart. West could win, exit with a diamond and win two more heart tricks later to beat the contract.


You hold: S Q 6 4 3 H 6 5 2 D 8 6 4 C K Q 6. Your partner opens one club, you bid one spade and he raises to three spades. The opponents pass. What do you say?

ANSWER: Partner has about 17 points with four-card spade support -- and a shapely hand since he didn't open 1NT. Though you have only seven points, all of them are "working," especially the K-Q of partner's long suit. Bid four spades; but if the side K-Q lay in diamonds, I'd pass.

Neither side vulnerable


S Q 6 4 3

H 6 5 2

D 8 6 4

C K Q 6


S 8

H A Q J 7

D Q J 9 5

C J 9 5 2


S 7 5 2

H 8 4 3

D K 10 7 3

C 7 4 3


S A K J 10 9

H K 10 9

D A 2

C A 10 8

South West North East

1 S Pass 2 S Pass

4 S All Pass

Opening lead -- D Q

(C) 2000, Los Angeles Times Syndicate