E-W vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} K 2

{heart} A K 5 4

{diam} A J 9 6 5 2

{club} 2

WEST (D)

{spade} 5 4 3

{heart} 10

{diam} 8 4

{club} K Q 9 8 6 4 3

EAST

{spade} 6

{heart} Q J 7 3

{diam} K Q 10 7 3

{club} A J 7

SOUTH

{spade} A Q J 10 9 8 7

{heart} 9 8 6 2

{diam} None

{club} 10 5

The bidding: North East South West 1 {diam} Pass 1 {spade} Pass 2 {diam} Pass 4 {spade} Pass 5 {club} Pass 5 {diam} Pass 5 {heart} Pass 6 {spade} All Pass Opening lead: {club} K

Areader says his partner is an overbidder and won't be slowed down.

"I was North and had my foot on the brake all the way," my fan writes, "and we still got too high. My rebid of two diamonds was timid. When he jumped to four spades, I could have bid six. Instead I settled for cue bids of five clubs and five hearts. That was like putting high-octane fuel in his tank."

West shifted to a trump at Trick Two, and South won in dummy, threw a heart on the ace of diamonds, ruffed a diamond, ruffed a club in dummy and ruffed a diamond. Alas, West discarded, and South was a dummy entry short to set up and cash the sixth diamond. He conceded a heart.

"At least we avoided our 4-4 heart fit," my fan says. "We'd have no chance at six hearts."

The time to play at a 4-4 fit is when you need the extra tricks it can provide. Here, North-South had another source of tricks and a fatal weakness in hearts.

South's play at six spades was unleaded. After he ruffs the third diamond, he runs his trumps. Dummy's last four cards are the A-K of hearts and J-9 of diamonds, and South has three hearts and a trump.

A "trump squeeze" operates. If East saves two hearts and two diamonds, South cashes the A-K of hearts, and his hand is high. If East saves three hearts and one diamond, South leads a heart to dummy and ruffs a diamond, and dummy is high.

West prevails with a heart shift at Trick Two.

(c)2004, Tribune Media Services