Both sides vulnerable


{spade} A 8 7 2

{heart} A J 3

{diam} 7 6 2

{club} A K 4


{spade} K Q J 9 5 3

{heart} Q 8 5

{diam} J 8 5

{club} 10


{spade} 10 6

{heart} 4

{diam} K Q 9 4

{club} Q J 9 7 5 2


{spade} 4

{heart} K 10 9 7 6 2

{diam} A 10 3

{club} 8 6 3

The bidding:WestNorthEastSouth2{spade}2 NTPass4{heart}All Pass Opening lead: {spade} K

The late Barry Crane, the best match point duplicate player who ever lived, insisted on the following rule for guessing missing queens: "A major-suit queen lies under the jack; a minor-suit queen lies over the jack." Whether the rule worked every time, as some of Crane's former partners maintain, it did save wear and tear on the brain.

To locate a missing queen, players use various approaches. Today's declarer takes the ace of spades and sees he'll be safe if he picks up the queen of trumps. An inexperienced South might cash the A-K, applying the old adage of "eight ever, nine never."

A more enlightened South would note that West's opening bid had promised a six-card suit, hence East had more room in his hand for hearts. South would cash the ace of hearts and lead the jack, intending to finesse.

A South who was confident of his "table presence" might lead the jack of trumps from dummy at the second trick. He'd hope to judge the position of the queen from East's reaction or induce East to cover if he had the queen.

Only the last of these methods might work in the actual deal, but a capable declarer would succeed without guessing. He would ruff a spade at Trick Two, lead a club to dummy, ruff a spade, lead a club to dummy and ruff a spade. South would then cash the ace of diamonds and exit with a diamond.

The defense could cash two diamonds and a club, but with three tricks left, dummy would have A-J-3 of trumps and South would have K-10-9. With a defender to lead, South would be home.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services