Both sides vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} 3

{heart} 8 6 5 3

{diam} Q 10 7 4

{club} 8 7 6 3

WEST

{spade} 9 8 5 2

{heart} 4

{diam} K 9 8 6 3

{club} J 10 4

EAST

{spade} 7 6 4

{heart} A Q J 9 2

{diam} 5

{club} Q 9 5 2

SOUTH (D)

{spade} A K Q J 10

{heart} K 10 7

{diam} A J 2

{club} A K

The bidding:

South

West

North

East

2 {club}

Pass

2 {diam}

Pass

2 {spade}

Pass

2 NT

Pass

4 {spade}(!)

All Pass Opening lead: {heart} 4

When Oedipus came to Thebes, a monster, the Sphinx, with the body of a lion and the head and breasts of a woman, had besieged the city, accosting travelers and plying them with a riddle. If they couldn't answer, they were devoured. Oedipus soon confronted the beast.

"How do you plan to make four spades?" asked the Sphinx, displaying today's deal.

Oedipus suspected East would take the ace of hearts and return the queen, and West would ruff South's king and exit with a trump. If South drew trumps and led the ace and jack of diamonds next, West would duck, win the next diamond and exit with a club, and South would lose a heart.

"Why aren't we at 3NT?" Oedipus stalled.

"Good question," shrugged the Sphinx, "but if the riddle were how to make 3NT, I'd never get a decent meal."

Oedipus saw a chance: He had to force West to give dummy a diamond trick.

"After I win West's trump exit at the third trick, I draw trumps, take the A-K of clubs and lead the ace and jack of diamonds. West must duck, and I win with the queen, ruff a club and lead another diamond at Trick 11. West must win and give dummy the 10 of diamonds."

"And what if West shifts to a diamond at Trick 3?" growled the Sphinx.

"No problem," replied Oedipus. "I win with the ace and play as before."

The monster, enraged, threw itself off a cliff.

"It was a complex deal," Oedipus observed. "Perhaps one day it'll be known as the Oedipus complex."

(c)2003, Tribune Media Services