Neither side vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} Q J 5 4

{heart} A 7 5 2

{diam} A 6 3

{club} 7 5

WEST (D)

{spade} A K 7

{heart} K J 9 3

{diam} Q 4

{club} A J 10 4

EAST

{spade} 10 6 3 2

{heart} Q 8

{diam} 10 5 2

{club} Q 8 6 2

SOUTH

{spade} 9 8

{heart} 10 6 4

{diam} K J 9 8 7

{club} K 9 3

The bidding: WestNorthEastSouth1 {club} Dbl Pass1 {diam}DblPass1 {spade} 2 {diam}All Pass Opening lead: {spade} K

You can ask Wendy, my club's feminist, how many honest, intelligent, caring men it takes to wash dishes, and she'll say, "Both of them."

In today's deal, however, Wendy was dummy, and she was delighted when two reasonably intelligent defenders -- who happened to be men -- let South make two diamonds.

When West led the king of spades, East played the deuce. West then pondered and shifted to the queen of trumps, and South happily drew trumps and led his last spade. West won and desperately led a low club. That play merely cost an overtrick.

"Why not shift to a heart?" East demanded. "Wasn't it obvious he'd get heart discards on the spades?"

"I thought your deuce of spades showed 'count,' " West shrugged. "I placed declarer with a singleton. Moreover, he might have had the queen of hearts."

"My deuce said, 'Don't lead more spades; make the most attractive shift,' " East grumbled.

The discussion went on for several minutes, while Wendy beamed her pleasure.

West defeats the contract by leading a low heart at Trick Two. The defense can get six side-suit tricks and may get a trump. How can West know?

East's signal on the first spade should show neither "attitude" nor "count." East's attitude about spades is obvious -- he hates them -- and to give count is not vital. East can instead use the third type of signal: suit preference. He can play the 10, a strikingly high spade to suggest a shift to the higher-ranking remaining suit.

(c)2004, Tribune Media Services