N-S vulnerable


{spade} A 9 5 4

{heart} 6 3 2

{diam} K 7 3

{club} J 10 4


{spade} Q 7 6

{heart} J 10 5 4

{diam} J 8 4

{club} Q 6 3


{spade} K 8 3 2

{heart} 9 8 7

{diam} Q 10 9 6

{club} A 7


{spade} J 10

{heart} A K Q

{diam} A 5 2

{club} K 9 8 5 2

The bidding: South WestNorthEast 1 NT Pass2 NT Pass 3 NT All Pass Opening lead: {heart} 4

Bridge is a game of mistakes, but if you have to cry over spilled milk, do everyone a favor and condense it.

After today's declarer won the first heart, he led a diamond to dummy and let the jack of clubs ride. West took the queen and shifted to a low spade.

South played low from dummy -- if he took the ace, he could lose three spades and two clubs -- and East won and led the ten of diamonds. South played low and won the next diamond, but his chances had evaporated: When he led another club, East produced the ace and cashed a diamond. Down one.

South milked the postmortem for all it was worth, bawling about his bad luck, but his play was hardly a case of the cream rising to the top. South is safe for nine tricks if he leads the king of clubs from his hand at Trick Two.

South can win any return (if West took the ace and led a spade, South could duck safely) and force out the queen of clubs. He wins three clubs, three hearts, two diamonds and a spade.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} A 9 5 4 {heart} 6 3 2 {diam} K 7 3 {club} J 10 4.

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

Answer: Bid two hearts. Four decades ago, players would have responded one spade because the heart support wasn't good enough for a raise. Those were the days of "four-card majors" and "adequate support" was J-10-x or better. Since five-card majors have taken over, players offer a descriptive single raise with any three cards.

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