N-S vulnerable


{spade} Q 10 4

{heart} 10 8 6

{diam} 7 6 3

{club} K Q J 9


{spade} 8 7

{heart} A J 7 3

{diam} J 10 9 4

{club} 10 5 2


{spade} 5 2

{heart} Q 9 4

{diam} 8 5 2

{club} A 7 6 4 3


{spade} A K J 9 6 3

{heart} K 5 2

{diam} A K Q

{club} 8

The bidding: SouthWestNorthEast 1 {spade} Pass2 {spade} Pass 4 {spade} All Pass Opening lead: {diam} J

According to Cy the Cynic, honesty may be the best policy. The problem is that there aren't a lot of policyholders out there.

Cover today's West and South cards and defend as East. West leads the jack of diamonds against South's game, and South wins with the queen, leads a trump to dummy's queen and returns a trump to his ace. West follows with the seven and eight. South then leads the eight of clubs: deuce, king . . . your play.

In real life East took the ace of clubs and led the four of hearts -- not good enough. South played low, and though West won with the jack, he could cash only the ace next to hold South to his contract.

Since dummy's clubs are good for discards, the defense needs three fast heart tricks to prevail. East must therefore hope West's hearts are headed by the ace and jack. East must take the ace of clubs and lead the dishonest queen of hearts, pretending he has the jack.

South will have a nasty guess. He may assume East has led from a holding such as Q-J-9-4. Then South is safe if he plays low but would go down if he covered with the king. Even if South judges to cover, he's not safe: West can take the ace and return a low heart, and South must guess again.

This position allows for cross, double-cross and triple-cross. Suppose East's hearts were Q-J-9. He might shift to the jack of hearts, and this time South would go down if he covered. And if East's hearts were J-9-4, he could lead the jack, and South would have to guess East's holding.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services