Both sides vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} A 4

{heart} 9 8 7 4 2

{diam} J 10 9

{club} A K 3

WEST

{spade} None

{heart} 10 5 3

{diam} K 8 5

{club} Q J 10 9 8 7 4

EAST

{spade} 9 5 2

{heart} A K J 6

{diam} 6 4 3 2

{club} 6 2

SOUTH (D)

{spade} K Q J 10 8 7 6 3

{heart} Q

{diam} A Q 7

{club} 5

The bidding: SouthWestNorthEast 1 {spade} Pass(!) 2 {heart} Pass 3 {spade} Pass 4 {club} Pass 4 NT Pass 5 {heart} Dbl 6 {spade} All Pass Opening lead: {heart} 3

An expert has a knack for taking a technically questionable line of play at the right time.

In a world championship, South was Mary Jane Farell, a member of the Bridge Hall of Fame. When West led a heart in response to East's lead-directing double of North's five-heart bid, East won and shifted to the six of diamonds.

The percentage play was to finesse, but Farell sensed that the finesse would lose. She rose with the ace of diamonds and cashed all her trumps. When South led the last trump, West could keep three cards. He had to save three clubs and hence discarded the king of diamonds, but Farell produced the queen of diamonds and claimed.

At a second table, another Hall-of-Famer, the late Ed Manfield, showed how the defense could beat South. Manfield took the first heart and shifted . . . to a club. South's communication for the squeeze was ruined and he lost a diamond.

If you aspire to expert status, never fear to back your judgment.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} A 4 {heart} 9 8 7 4 2 {diam} J 10 9 {club} A K 3.

You open one heart, your partner responds one spade, you bid 1NT and he jumps to three hearts. The opponents pass. What do you say?

Answer: If your partner had bid only two hearts, he'd have invited game with 10 or 11 points. He has good heart support, and with six to nine points he'd have raised to two hearts directly. His delayed jump to three hearts is forcing. Bid four hearts.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services