Both sides vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} A K 10

{heart} K 10 9 8 3

{diam} A 10

{club} K 8 3

WEST

{spade} 4 2

{heart} A 7 5 4 2

{diam} Q 9 8 6 2

{club} 6

EAST (D)

{spade} Q 7 6 5

{heart} Q J 6

{diam} K 7 4 3

{club} 9 4

SOUTH

{spade} J 9 8 3

{heart} None

{diam} J 5

{club} A Q J 10 7 5 2

The bidding: East South West North Pass 2 {club} Pass 2 {diam} Pass 2 {spade} Pass 2 NT Pass 3 {club} Pass 4 {club} Pass 4 {heart} Pass 4 {spade} Pass 5 {club} Pass 6 {club} All Pass

Opening lead: {diam} 9

Richard Schwartz-Mike Becker, Larry Cohen-Dave Berkowitz and Italian imports Andrea Buratti-Massimo Lanzarotti won the prestigious Vanderbilt Teams at the ACBL Spring Championships.

SCHWARTZ's closest call came in the semifinals against a team led by former Disney executive Peter Schneider. The match was in doubt when today's deal arose. At one table, North-South for SCHNEIDER made five clubs. In the replay, Lanzarotti-Buratti for SCHWARTZ were more ambitious: South's opening bid showed long clubs and eight to 14 points; North's first two bids were artificial inquiries. Cue-bidding led to slam.

When West led a diamond, declarer's chances seemed to rest on the spade finesse. But Buratti took the ace and led dummy's three of hearts. East played the queen, and declarer ruffed, led a trump to dummy and returned the eight of hearts.

If East played low, South would discard his losing diamond. West would take the ace, but Buratti would later discard spades on the good hearts. So East covered the eight of hearts with the jack.

Buratti ruffed, drew trumps, went to the king of spades and led the nine of hearts, pitching his last diamond. West won, but South later threw two spades on the K-10 of hearts and made the slam, gaining 13 crucial IMPs.

If East plays low on the first heart, South can still succeed. Whether he would have, nobody can know.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services