Neither side vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} 8 5

{heart} 10 8 2

{diam} A 7 3

{club} A Q J 10 5

WEST

{spade} K 10 4

{heart} K Q J 9

{diam} K 8 6 4 2

{club} 7

EAST

{spade} 6 2

{heart} 7 6 4

{diam} 10 9

{club} 9 8 6 4 3 2

SOUTH (D)

{spade} A Q J 9 7 3

{heart} A 5 3

{diam} Q J 5

{club} K

The bidding: South West North East 1 {spade} Pass 2 {club} Pass 3 {spade} Pass 4 {spade} All Pass Opening lead: {heart} K

"I never saw anything like it. The man's such an opportunist he'd pat me on the back, then bill me for a massage."

Cy the Cynic was talking about Ed, the best player in my club, who regularly takes Cy and everyone else to the cleaners.

"Look at this deal," Cy said glumly. "He swindled me out of a cold game."

When Ed led the king of hearts, Cy took the ace, cashed the ace of trumps and then started the clubs to discard some losers. He threw a heart on the second club, but Ed ruffed with the king of trumps, cashed a heart and led a diamond.

"I saw no reason to risk the diamond finesse," Cy growled. "Ed 'obviously' had no more trumps. So I took the ace and continued clubs. I was stunned when he produced the ten of trumps."

"And then he patted you on the back as he cashed the king of diamonds for the setting trick," I sighed.

Ed's defense was brilliant. If he ruffs the second club with the 10 of trumps, cashes a heart and leads a diamond, Cy may guess right by playing low from dummy. Cy can then force out the king of trumps and finish with an overtrick. Of course, Cy may go wrong even if Ed ruffs the second club low, but Ed's actual defense was sure to work.

Cy could make the contract by leading the queen of trumps at Trick Two. He'd lose two hearts and a trump but could later draw trumps and run the clubs to discard diamonds. I wouldn't be too hard on Cy, though. His play was reasonable and would have worked against almost any West.

(c)2004, Tribune Media Services