N-S vulnerable


{spade} A Q 8

{heart} J 6 4 2

{diam} 10 8 4

{club} Q 5 2


{spade} J 9 7 3

{heart} K

{diam} Q 9 5 2

{club} 10 9 7 6


{spade} K 10 6 5 2

{heart} 8 3

{diam} K J 7 3

{club} J 4


{spade} 4

{heart} A Q 10 9 7 5

{diam} A 6

{club} A K 8 3

The bidding: SouthWestNorthEast1 {heart} Pass2 {heart} Pass3 {club} Pass4 {heart} Pass 6 {heart} All Pass Opening lead: {diam} 2

If at first you don't succeed, you're probably about average, but an expert declarer isn't satisfied with only a single chance for his contract.

In today's deal, East correctly played the jack on the first diamond; East knew South had the ace of diamonds but could learn whether he had the queen. South took the ace, led a club to dummy and returned a trump to finesse -- his first and only chance to succeed. West produced the king and led a second diamond, and East's king scored to defeat the contract.

South had an average chance of making the slam -- the trump finesse would work 50 percent of the time -- but South could give himself an extra chance. At the second trick he should cash the ace of trumps. Quite often, the king will fall (as it would here), and South can draw trumps and concede one diamond.

If instead the king of trumps didn't fall, South would try a spade finesse with the queen, intending to discard his losing diamond on the ace of spades.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} K 10 6 5 2 {heart} 8 3 {diam} K J 7 3 {club} J 4.

Your partner opens one heart, you respond one spade and he bids two clubs. The opponents pass. What do you say?

Answer: Bid two hearts, showing fewer than 10 points and only a tolerance for hearts (since you'd have raised at your first turn with better support). You might survive a bid of two diamonds, but since that bid would be forcing, your partner might get excited and venture too high.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services