N-S vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} J 9 2

{heart} Q

{diam} A K 7 5 3 2

{club} K J 4

WEST

{spade} A 5 4

{heart} 10 9 8 7 5 2

{diam} 10

{club} Q 9 5

EAST

{spade} 8 7 6

{heart} K 6 3

{diam} J 9 8 6

{club} 10 8 7

SOUTH (D)

{spade} K Q 10 3

{heart} A J 4

{diam} Q 4

{club} A 6 3 2

The bidding: South West North East1 NT Pass 3 {diam} Pass3 NT Pass6 NT All Pass Opening lead: {heart} 10

Unlucky Louie, whose income comes from his real estate, was thinking of buying an interest in a funeral home.

"With my luck," Louie told me, "if I bought a cemetery, people would quit dying."

Louie gave today's slam a proper burial as declarer. East covered dummy's queen of hearts, and Louie took the ace and started the spades. West won the third spade and led a heart to Louie's jack.

Louie next led the queen and another diamond, hoping for a 3-2 break. When West discarded, Louie groaned. He took the ace, came to the ace of clubs and cashed his good spade. A club to the jack won, but Louie had only 11 tricks: Dummy had a diamond loser at the end.

Louie made a grave error: He should test the diamonds by taking the ace and queen. If diamonds broke 3-2, Louie would easily take the rest.

When instead West discards, Louie can finesse with the jack of clubs and take the king of diamonds and then the K-A of clubs. The 3-3 club break gives him 12 tricks.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} J 9 2 {heart} Q {diam} A K 7 5 3 2 {club} K J 4.

Your partner opens one heart, you respond two diamonds, he bids three clubs and you rebid three diamonds. Partner then bids 3NT. What do you say?

Answer: Partner's three clubs was a "high reverse" promising extra strength, hence slam is possible. Bid 4NT, not ace-asking (since no trump suit is agreed) but a quantitative try for slam. If he holds K 6, A K J 10 3, 10 6, A Q 7 6, your chances at six hearts or 6NT will be good.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services