Both sides vulnerable

NORTH (D)

{spade} A

{heart} J 5 3

{diam} K Q 9 8 4

{club} Q 4 3 2

WEST

{spade} Q 10 8 7 3

{heart} K 7 4

{diam} 3

{club} K 9 7 6

EAST

{spade} 6 5 4 2

{heart} Q 9 8

{diam} A 6 2

{club} 10 8 5

SOUTH

{spade} K J 9

{heart} A 10 6 2

{diam} J 10 7 5

{club} A J

The bidding: NorthEastSouthWest 1 {diam} Pass1 {heart} Pass2 {heart} Pass 3 NT All Pass Opening lead: {spade} 7

Maybe Major League Baseball players are overpaid, but bridge players can be thankful that their own errors aren't published in a newspaper box score every day.

In today's deal, South took the ace of spades and established his best suit by leading the king of diamonds to East's ace. When East returned a spade, South played the jack, losing to the queen, and won the next spade.

South then had eight tricks -- four diamonds, a heart, two spades and a club -- but when he led a diamond to dummy and returned a club to his jack to try for one more, West took the king and ran the spades. Down one.

You're the official scorer. Do you charge South with an error?

South booted an easy ground ball: He should lead a club to the jack at Trick Two. If the finesse won, South would force out the ace of diamonds for at least nine tricks. When the finesse loses, South is still safe since West can't continue spades effectively. South then has time to set up the diamonds.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} K J 9 {heart} A 10 6 2 {diam} J 10 7 5 {club} A J.

You open one diamond, and your partner bids one spade. The opponents pass. What do you say?

Answer: Since you have tenace holdings in clubs and hearts, to bid 1NT, showing a balanced minimum hand may work. I prefer a raise to two spades with good three-card support and a possible ruffing feature. "When in doubt, raise" is a sound dictum. Avoid a bid of two hearts, which would suggest more strength.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services