Both sides vulnerable


{spade} 9 8 2

{heart} A Q J 6

{diam} A K 9 6

{club} J 3


{spade} K J 10 6 3

{heart} 9 7 2

{diam} J 10

{club} Q 10 5


{spade} 7 4

{heart} 10 8 4

{diam} 7 5 3

{club} 9 8 7 6 2


{spade} A Q 5

{heart} K 5 3

{diam} Q 8 4 2

{club} A K 4

The bidding: South WestNorthEast 1 NT Pass2 {club} Pass2 {diam} Pass4 NT Pass 6 NT All Pass Opening lead: {diam} J

"I have good news and bad news," the doctor announced.

"What's the good news?" asked his patient.

"You are not a hypochondriac."

In today's deal, the bad news -- for South -- was that West held the K-J of spades behind South's A-Q. The worse news was that South could have made 6NT anyway but didn't.

South won the first diamond in dummy and led a spade to the queen to learn his fate immediately. When West took the king and led another diamond, South won, cashed the ace of spades and ran his red-suit winners. In the end West had to pitch a club to keep the jack of spades, but East saved clubs, and down South went.

The news would be better if South tried for an end play. After South wins the first diamond, he cashes two more diamonds and three hearts. He next lets the nine of spades ride.

West takes the jack but must return a black card. If he leads a spade, South gets a free finesse; if a club, South wins with dummy's jack for his 12th trick.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} 9 8 2 {heart} A Q J 6 {diam} A K 9 6 {club} J 3.

Dealer, at your left, opens one spade. Your partner passes, and the next player raises to two spades. What do you say?

Answer: Double. This action could work badly. Your partner could have nothing or could compete too high in clubs, where your support is deficient. Still, you have much to gain. If partner has 4 3, K 7 5 3 2, 8 5, A 8 7 4, you may make four hearts, and you won't get there unless you act now.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services