N-S vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} Q 10 6 5

{heart} Q J 6

{diam} A K

{club} A Q 8 3

WEST

{spade} A K 8 3

{heart} 9 4

{diam} 9 8 5 4 2

{club} 6 2

EAST

{spade} 9 2

{heart} K 10 7

{diam} 10 7 6

{club} K 10 9 7 5

SOUTH (D)

{spade} J 7 4

{heart} A 8 5 3 2

{diam} Q J 3

{club} J 4

The bidding: South WestNorthEast Pass Pass1 {club} Pass1 {heart} Pass 1 {spade} Pass 1 NT Pass3 {heart} Pass 4 {heart} All Pass Opening lead: {spade} K

I overheard this colloquy as a team of four compared results after a match:

"How'd they make four hearts?"

"We had a partnership misunderstanding: I thought my partner knew what he was doing."

West had led the king of spades against South's game, and East signaled with the nine. West duly continued with the ace and a low spade, and East ruffed and exited with a diamond. South won in dummy and led the queen of trumps, covered. Another trump lead cleared up the trumps, and South claimed the rest, discarding a club on the good queen of spades.

Where did the defense go wrong?

East was at fault. Since he had a natural trump trick, he didn't want West to continue spades. What East needed was an early club shift, setting up a club trick for the defense before dummy provided a discard.

East must play the deuce on the first spade. West will shift -- to a club, the most logical shift -- and the defenders will get the four tricks to which they're entitled.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} Q 10 6 5 {heart} Q J 6 {diam} A K {club} A Q 8 3.

Dealer, at your right, opens one diamond. You double, and your partner responds one heart. The opponents pass. What do you say?

Answer: Since you have extra strength, you should bid again: Partner may have as many as eight points, and game is possible. Since he may also have no points and poor hearts, though, you must take care. You shouldn't raise the hearts with only three trumps. Bid 1NT.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services