Both sides vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} K 6 4 3 2

{heart} K J

{diam} 4

{club} 9 6 4 3 2

WEST

{spade} Q 9 8

{heart} A 6 4 2

{diam} Q J 10 2

{club} K 5

EAST

{spade} A J 10

{heart} 5 3

{diam} K 9 8 6

{club} J 10 8 7

SOUTH (D)

{spade} 7 5

{heart} Q 10 9 8 7

{diam} A 7 5 3

{club} A Q

The bidding:SouthWestNorthEast 1 {heart}Pass1 {spade} Pass 2 {diam}Pass2 {heart}All Pass Opening lead: {diam} Q

"I've heard that at duplicate bridge, declarer must take calculated risks to make overtricks," a club player remarked.

"True," I replied, "if you think the contract will be the same at all the other tables. But if you're at a game nobody else will reach, play safe for the contract."

"I tried for overtricks in one deal today," he said, "and partner was upset when my play failed."

"You can't judge a doctor's skill by what the undertaker says," I said, shrugging. "What happened?"

As South, my friend had opened a light hand and had landed at two hearts.

"I took the ace of diamonds, ruffed a diamond and tried a club finesse with the queen. When West won, he led a trump, and I couldn't ruff another diamond. I lost two diamonds, two spades, a club and a trump. If East had the king of clubs, I could ruff a second diamond and make an overtrick. Was my play wrong?"

What do you think of South's play?

South should have settled for eight tricks by leading a club to the ace and ruffing a second diamond. The trouble with risking the club finesse was that South was already ahead of the game: On the auction, a trump lead was indicated and might have beaten the contract for sure, but West had failed to lead a trump.

Moreover, the contract at some tables might be different. East-West might enter the auction and make, say, a diamond partial. If South made two hearts for plus 110 points, he'd be sure of a good score, especially if West had the king of clubs.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services