N-S vulnerable

NORTH (D)

{spade} A K Q J

{heart} A Q 4

{diam} None

{club} Q J 10 9 8 6

WEST

{spade} 8 5 4 2

{heart} K 10 8 3

{diam} K Q J 10 6

{club} None

EAST

{spade} None

{heart} J 9 7 6 5 2

{diam} 8 7

{club} 7 5 4 3 2

SOUTH

{spade} 10 9 7 6 3

{heart} None

{diam} A 9 5 4 3 2

{club} A K

The bidding: North East South West1 {club} Pass 1 {spade} Dbl4 {diam} Pass 5 {club} Pass5 {heart} Pass 6 {club} Pass 7 {spade} All Pass Opening lead: {diam} K

As the game at the Mad Hatter's went on, the players grew more and more annoyed at the Queen of Hearts, a vocal kibitzer. Only Alice had escaped the lash of the Queen's criticism.

Finally, the Hatter landed at a grand slam that looked cold. North was the Dormouse, and his four diamonds were a "splinter" bid, showing spade support and diamond shortness. When the Hatter cue-bid twice in clubs, North went all the way.

Alice led the king of diamonds, and the Hatter surveyed dummy with dismay.

"We underbid it," the Hatter sighed.

"You can't bid more than seven," Alice said severely.

"In Wonderland," offered the March Hare, East, "we often bid nine."

Meanwhile, the Hatter leered at the Queen of Hearts and pointedly discarded her from dummy, winning with the ace of diamonds.

"You dunderhead!" the Queen shrieked.

The Hatter then led a trump to dummy and quivered when the Hare showed out. If declarer drew trumps, he could take the A-K of clubs but couldn't reach dummy's clubs. So the Hatter led a club to his ace next, but Alice ruffed.

"Off with his head!" the Queen of Hearts bellowed.

To guard against foul breaks, South must throw a club from dummy at Trick One. He leads a trump to dummy, ruffs a heart, returns with a trump and ruffs the queen of hearts. South then draws trumps, pitching his ace of clubs. He discards his king of clubs on the ace of hearts and claims.

(c)2004, Tribune Media Services