Both sides vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} 10 6 5 4

{heart} 10

{diam} K J 10 9 8

{club} K J 5

WEST

{spade} J 8 7 2

{heart} A 9 8 4

{diam} 3

{club} A 7 6 3

EAST

{spade} K 9

{heart} Q J 5 3 2

{diam} 5 4 2

{club} Q 10 9

SOUTH (D)

{spade} A Q 3

{heart} K 7 6

{diam} A Q 7 6

{club} 8 4 2

The bidding: South WestNorthEast 1 NT Pass2 {club} Pass 2 {diam} Pass3 NT All Pass Opening lead: {spade} 2

My experience is that he who is always kicking seldom has a leg to stand on. That was the case in today's deal.

At the bold 3NT, East put up the king on the first spade, and South took the A-Q and led a spade to West's jack. East was sure South had five diamond tricks -- he hadn't set up the diamonds -- and three spades, hence 3NT was cold if South had a third ace. So East pitched the deuce of hearts, and West shifted to a low club.

South pondered and played dummy's jack, and down he went: East took the queen and led the queen of hearts, and South lost four hearts and two clubs. South promptly went into punt formation: He complained of bad luck. Was he unlucky?

South can't know how the missing club honors lie but must strive to keep East out of the lead and avoid a heart shift. South should play the king on the first club. If East has the ace of clubs and West has the ace of hearts, South is helpless, but South had no kick coming on the actual deal.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} A Q 3 {heart} K 7 6 {diam} A Q 7 6 {club} 8 4 2.

South in today's deal opened 1NT on this hand. What would your choice be?

Answer: Some pairs use a "weak notrump," showing 12 to 14 points. Others use a 16-to-18 range. Many duplicate players use a range of 15 to 17 points because they open many 12-point hands. They rebid 1NT to show 12 to 14 points; a 12-to-15 range would be unwieldy. You and your partner must choose the range you'll employ.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services