N-S vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} 8 4 2

{heart} K 7

{diam} 7 6 2

{club} A K 8 5 3

WEST

{spade} Q 9 7 5

{heart} Q 10 8 6 2

{diam} J 8 5

{club} 10

EAST

{spade} K 10

{heart} 9 4 3

{diam} Q 10 9 4

{club} Q J 9 2

SOUTH (D)

{spade} A J 6 3

{heart} A J 5

{diam} A K 3

{club} 7 6 4

The bidding: South West NorthEast 1 NT Pass3 NT All Pass Opening lead: {heart} 6

If today's declarer had been out driving a car, you'd have thought he was late to an accident. He played low from dummy on the first heart, took the jack and hurriedly cashed the A-K of clubs.

When West threw a diamond, the play slowed down -- a little. South next led a spade to his jack. West took the queen and led a heart to dummy's king, and South then tried the ace and a low spade. West took the nine and seven and led a third heart, and South cashed the A-K of diamonds and gave up. Result: down one. Time elapsed: one minute.

South played the hand at warp speed but unsuccessfully. How would you handle 3NT?

South starts with eight sure tricks, hence he needs only one extra club. Since South has the other suits under control, he can play a low club from both hands at Trick Two, guarding against a 4-1 break.

South wins the heart return in dummy and concedes another club. He wins the third heart and takes the A-K of clubs and then dummy's last low club.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} A J 6 3 {heart} A J 5 {diam} A K 3 {club} 7 6 4.

Your partner opens one diamond, you bid one spade, he rebids two diamonds and you raise to four diamonds. Partner next bids five clubs. What do you say?

Answer: Partner's five clubs is a cue bid, promising the ace of clubs and slam interest. Since you have the ace of hearts and good trumps, jump to six diamonds. He should have no less than K 2, 10 6, Q J 10 8 7 5, A K 3.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services