Neither side vulnerable

NORTH

{heart} K 5 4 3 2

{diam} J 3 2

{club} A Q 2

WEST

{heart} A Q 8

{diam} Q 10 8 7 5

{club} J 6 5

EAST

{heart} J 10 9 7

{diam} A K 6

{club} K 10 9 8

SOUTH (D)

{spade} K Q J 9 8 7 3

{heart} 6

{diam} 9 4

{club} 7 4 3

The bidding: South WestNorthEast 3 {spade} All Pass Opening lead: {diam} 7

"Your friend the English professor certainly has a fine command of the language," a player told me. "The problem is, he never orders it to halt."

The professor was today's West and led his fourth-highest diamond against three spades.

"I was East and took the K-A and led a third diamond," I was told. "South ruffed, drew trumps and led a heart. The prof took his ace and shifted to a club. South lost a finesse to my king but later threw a club on the king of hearts and made his contract.

"The professor let me have it and didn't speak haltingly. He insisted I should have led the six of diamonds at the second trick. He'd win and shift to the jack of clubs, and South would go down. I think that was asking a lot."

When West leads the seven of diamonds, East can apply the Rule of 11, learning that South has only one higher diamond that can't be the queen (since West would have led the 10 from 10-9-8-7). So East can and should underlead his ace of diamonds at Trick Two.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} 10 4 {heart} J 10 9 7 {diam} A K 6 {club} K 10 9 8.

Your partner opens one spade, you respond two clubs, he bids two diamonds and you try 2NT. Partner next bids three clubs. What do you say?

Answer: Your partner's sequence is forcing. (If his second bid had been two spades, suggesting minimum strength, his three clubs now would be not forcing.) Since you have a solid heart stopper, bid 3NT. If partner has A K 5 3 2, 6, Q 10 4 2, A Q 5, that contract will be a big favorite.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services