Neither side vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} A 6

{heart} 9 6 4 3

{diam} Q 8 5

{club} 10 8 4 2

WEST

{spade} K 8 5 2

{heart} Q 8 7 2

{diam} 7

{club} J 9 5 3

EAST

{spade} J 9 7 4

{heart} K J 10 5

{diam} 10 3 2

{club} Q 6

SOUTH (D)

{spade} Q 10 3

{heart} A

{diam} A K J 9 6 4

{club} A K 7

The bidding:

South

West

North

East2 {diam}

Pass

3 {diam}

Pass3 {heart}

Pass

4 {heart}

Pass6 {diam}

All Pass

Opening lead: {club} 3

Just as all great composers eventually attempt a symphony, every bridge writer aspires to do an "over-the-shoulder" book in which the reader shares the writer's thoughts in a series of deals. Terence Reese was a master of this genre. His "Play These Hands With Me," source of today's deal, has been reprinted.

In North-South's system, North's raise to three diamonds promises an ace. Reese, as South, cue-bids three hearts, but North misunderstands and raises. Since the game is duplicate, Reese bids six diamonds: Slam is uncertain, but to play at five diamonds will lose to pairs at 3NT.

West leads a club, and things look so grim that declarer tries for a swindle: He takes East's queen with the ace and returns the seven! West plays low, thinking East may have held K-Q-6, and dummy's 10 wins.

"I still have to manage the spades," Reese writes. After a round of trumps, he leads the queen of spades. If this loses to East, there will be no danger of a club ruff. West covers, and the ace wins. South then cashes the queen of trumps and leads a spade from dummy.

"East goes into a small trance. Finally, he plays low, hoping West can win and give him a club ruff. My 10 wins, and I ruff a spade and end up with an overtrick.

"East led the assault. 'What happened to the jack of clubs?' he demanded.

" 'The same as the jack of spades,' snapped West. 'We didn't make it.' "

(c)2002, Tribune Media Services