N-S vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} J 6 4

{heart} Q

{diam} A K Q 10 7 6

{club} 6 5 3

WEST

{spade} A 10 9 2

{heart} K 5 4

{diam} 9 3

{club} Q 10 8 2

EAST

{spade} K 8 7 5 3

{heart} 6 3 2

{diam} J 8 2

{club} 9 4

SOUTH (D)

{spade} Q

{heart} A J 10 9 8 7

{diam} 5 4

{club} A K J 7

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

"Cy says I'm irritable," Wendy, my club's ardent feminist, told me. "Of course, women are irritable. Men are irritating."

Wendy was today's East, and Cy the Cynic, a shameless chauvinist, sat West. Against four hearts, Cy led the ace of spades and Wendy encouraged with the eight. Cy continued with the ten of spades: jack, king. When South ruffed, Wendy growled at Cy like a wounded she-bear. South next led the ace and jack of trumps. Cy's king won the defenders' last trick since South could draw trumps and run the diamonds to discard clubs. Making five.

"Women!" Cy grumbled. "You never know what they'll do, and if you did, they'd probably do something else. Wendy asked me to continue spades, I obeyed and she got mad at me."

Wendy was right to signal high in spades: Cy might have had A-x. But when South's queen falls, Cy must shift to a diamond. When he takes the king of trumps, he leads another diamond, killing dummy, and South loses two clubs to go down.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} J 6 4 {heart} Q {diam} A K Q 10 7 6 {club} 6 5 3.

You open one diamond, your partner responds one heart, you rebid two diamonds and he tries three clubs. The opponents pass. What do you say?

Answer: Partner's bid in a new suit is forcing, and your side won't stop below game. For the moment, though, all you can do is rebid three diamonds. You can neither bid 3NT without a certain stopper in spades, nor support the hearts, nor raise the clubs.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services