N-S vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} K 6 2

{heart} K J 9 2

{diam} J 9 6 2

{club} K 6

WEST

{spade} Q 9 8 5 4

{heart} 8

{diam} 8 4

{club} Q 10 7 5 2

EAST

{spade} A 10 7 3

{heart} Q 10 7 6 4

{diam} 7

{club} 9 8 3

SOUTH (D)

{spade} J

{heart} A 5 3

{diam} A K Q 10 5 3

{club} A J 4

The bidding: SouthWestNorthEast1 {diam} Pass1 {heart}Pass3 {club}Pass4 {diam}Pass4 {heart}Pass5 {club}Pass6 {diam}All Pass Opening lead -- {heart} 8

Some things, such as kissing your elbow or making today's slam, look physically impossible. South has 11 tricks -- six trumps, two clubs, a club ruff in dummy and two hearts -- but it seems he must lose a heart and a spade.

South played dummy's nine on the first heart and captured East's 10. He drew trumps and led the jack of spades, and West did well to cover. Dummy's king lost to the ace, and South ruffed East's spade return, took the A-K of clubs and ruffed his last club in dummy. Late in the day, he led a heart toward dummy, but West discarded. Down one.

By now you've probably tried to kiss your elbow (shame on you for doubting me), but how would you play six diamonds?

West's opening lead looks like a singleton. After North-South bid and supported hearts, West wouldn't lead from the queen or from some low hearts. But if West has led a singleton, trying for a ruff, East must have the ace of spades: West wouldn't look for a ruff if he held an ace since South would be defeated anyway if East had an entry.

South should take the ace of hearts, draw trumps, cash the top clubs, ruff a club and run the trumps. After 10 tricks, South has the jack of spades and two low hearts, and dummy has the K-J of hearts and the king of spades. East must keep a guard to the queen of hearts and hence must bare his ace of spades.

South then leads the jack of spades at Trick 11, and East must win and lead a heart from the queen.

(c)2004, Tribune Media Services