N-S vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} K 8 6 4

{heart} A 5

{diam} Q 4

{club} K J 10 5 4

WEST

{spade} Q 10 3

{heart} K 10 8 2

{diam} J 10 9

{club} Q 8 2

EAST

{spade} 9

{heart} Q 9 6 4 3

{diam} K 8 6 5 2

{club} 9 7

SOUTH (D)

{spade} A J 7 5 2

{heart} J 7

{diam} A 7 3

{club} A 6 3

The bidding: South WestNorthEast 1 {spade} Pass3 {spade} Pass4 {spade} All Pass Opening lead: {diam} J

Lady Luck smiles on the player we call Harlow the Halo. She laughs at Unlucky Louie.

In a team match at my club, Harlow and Louie sat South. Both Wests led the jack of diamonds against four spades, and East covered dummy's queen. (Decide how you'd play the hand.)

Harlow took the ace and cashed the A-K of trumps. He took the ace of clubs, finessed with the jack and continued clubs. West ruffed the fourth club and cashed a diamond, but Harlow claimed, making five.

Louie also took the ace of diamonds and the top trumps, but he next took the A-K of clubs and lost a club. When West cashed a diamond and led a heart, Louie won and threw his last heart on a good club, making four.

For once I felt for Louie since his play was correct. Give West two low clubs, and Harlow goes down: East takes the queen of clubs and shifts to hearts, establishing four tricks for the defense. But with a normal 3-2 club break, Louie sets up the clubs in time to get a heart discard.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} 9 {heart} Q 9 6 4 3 {diam} K 8 6 5 2 {club} 9 7.

Your partner opens one spade, and the next player passes. What do you say?

Answer: A pass might be the winner, but as against that, your partner might hold A 8 6 5 3, A K, A J 10 4, A 4, and six diamonds would be a fine contract and even seven diamonds might make. Give fate a chance and bid 1NT. A response has the extra benefit of making it harder for the opponents to enter the auction cheaply.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services