Neither side vulnerable


{spade} 7

{heart} A Q 10 3

{diam} 10 4 3 2

{club} K Q 6 2


{spade} A 9 8 5 3

{heart} K 5 4

{diam} J 6

{club} 9 8 4


{spade} Q 10 4

{heart} J 9 8 7

{diam} Q 9 8 7 5

{club} A


{spade} K J 6 2

{heart} 6 2

{diam} A K

{club} J 10 7 5 3

The bidding: South WestNorth East 1 {club} Pass 1 {heart} Pass1 {spade} Pass3 {club} Pass 3 NT All Pass Opening lead: {spade} 5

"But Holmes, how the deuce could I know which defender had the ace of clubs?"

"You couldn't, Watson."

Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes were reviewing a match against Professor Moriarty. They had won, narrowly, despite today's deal.

"Our friend the professor led the five of spades," Holmes recounted. "East put up the queen, and you took the king and led a club, an effort that had the benefit of ending the play quickly. East won and led the 10 of spades, and the professor ran four spade tricks -- not without an odious cackle."

"If I duck East's queen and play low on the spade return," Watson mused, "the defenders can't run the spades since the professor has no entry. But if Moriarty has the ace of clubs, I must win the first spade, keeping the guarded jack as a stopper."

Which defender should South play for the ace of clubs?

"You have four clubs, a spade and two diamonds," Holmes observed. "To make 3NT, you need two heart tricks, hence you must assume West has the king. But if Moriarty had the king of hearts, ace of clubs and A-9-8-5-3 of spades, he'd have overcalled one spade when you opened one club.

"Assume a lie of the cards that lets you succeed: Place the king of hearts with West and the ace of clubs with East. Play low on the first two spades. West takes the next spade and leads another spade, but you win, force out the ace of clubs and later win the heart finesse."

"Amazing, Holmes."


(c)2005, Tribune Media Services