Neither side vulnerable


{spade} A 8

{heart} 10 5 4 2

{diam} A 10 8 2

{club} A 10 2


{spade} J 7

{heart} 9 7 3

{diam} Q 9 4 3

{club} K J 6 3


{spade} Q 10 6 5 4 3 2

{heart} None

{diam} 7 6

{club} Q 8 7 5


{spade} K 9

{heart} A K Q J 8 6

{diam} K J 5

{club} 9 4

The bidding: WestNorth East SouthPass 1 {diam} 1 NT(!) DblRedbl Pass3 {spade} 4 NTPass 5 {club} Pass 5 {heart}Pass 6 {diam} Pass 7 NTAll Pass Opening lead: {spade} J

Like all players, I'd rather the opponents stayed out of my auctions; unimpeded auctions reach better contracts. Hence, many experts believe in a whirlwind defensive bidding style. They bid on nothing, hoping like moths in a closet of woolens to destroy their opponents' auction.

This style has two possible drawbacks: The opponents may reach a good contract they'd have missed without being goaded, and busy bidding may help declarer judge the play.

In a U.S. Team Trials, East tried a "Comic" 1NT overcall. South doubled this impertinence, and West innocently redoubled with his seven points. East's jump to three spades said he'd been fooling around, and South then took over with Blackwood and launched into 7NT. (North-South used a variation called Roman Key Card Blackwood: North's five clubs showed three aces or none. South knew which.)

South won the first spade with the ace, cashed a couple of hearts and next led the jack of diamonds, placing the queen with West. West covered, and South won in dummy, ran the hearts and cashed the king of spades.

South then took the king of diamonds and . . . finessed with the eight! South figured West wouldn't have covered the jack if he'd held Q-4-3. Making seven.

This time, East-West's busy bidding cost them. If East had kept quiet, it's unlikely North-South would have reached a grand slam. If they did, South might go down.

(c)2004, Tribune Media Services