Both sides vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} 7

{heart} A 8

{diam} J 9 2

{club} Q J 9 8 6 4 3

WEST (D)

{spade} J 10 8 6 5

{heart} K J 4 3

{diam} K

{club} 10 7 2

EAST

{spade} A Q 9 4 3 2

{heart} 9 7 5 2

{diam} 10 5

{club} K

SOUTH

{spade} K

{heart} Q 10 6

{diam} A Q 8 7 6 4 3

{club} A 5

The bidding: West North East SouthPass Pass 2 {spade} 3 {diam} 3 {spade} 4 {club} Pass 5 {diam} Pass 6 {diam} All Pass Opening lead: {spade} J

Irecently saw this bumper sticker on a car, but today's South could have had it taped to the back of his chair: "If you don't like the way I drive, get off the sidewalk."

After East opened with a "weak two-bid" in spades, North and South bid their cards as if driving an ambulance en route to a wreck. South's overcall of three diamonds was fine, but his leap to five diamonds, when his king of spades was surely a wasted honor, deserved a ticket for reckless driving. North's lift to six diamonds, when South had done no more than overcall three diamonds originally, was speculative at best.

When West led the jack of spades, East took the ace and shifted to a low heart: ten, jack, ace. South then led dummy's jack of trumps and let it ride, and West gratefully took his singleton king and cashed the king of hearts. South picked up the king of clubs later but was down two.

No doubt you're a more careful driver than South and would have stopped, more reasonably, at five diamonds. But what do you think of the way South played six diamonds?

To have a chance, South must assume East has the king of clubs. But West's opening lead marks East with the A-Q of spades, and if East had two kings in addition, he'd have opened one spade, not a weak two spades.

At the third trick, South should lead a diamond to his ace. When the king falls, he can draw trumps and finesse successfully in clubs to reach his destination safely.

(c)2004, Tribune Media Services