E-W vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} K 10 3

{heart} K 10 6 2

{diam} 10 6 2

{club} A K J

WEST

{spade} 8 5

{heart} Q 7 4

{diam} A K J 8 5

{club} 8 6 4

EAST

{spade} 6

{heart} A J 9 8

{diam} Q 9 7 4

{club} Q 10 9 3

SOUTH (D)

{spade} A Q J 9 7 4 2

{heart} 5 3

{diam} 3

{club} 7 5 2

The bidding: SouthWestNorthEast 3 {spade} Pass4 {spade} All Pass Opening lead: {diam} K

"Nothing's as embarrassing as watching your boss do something you said couldn't be done," a fan writes, "even if it's only in a lunchtime bridge game."

My fan says his boss was South, and North boldly raised the preemptive opening bid to game. (Swap South's clubs and diamonds, and four spades would be down off the top.)

"When my partner led the king of diamonds," my fan writes, "I played the four. Nevertheless, he continued with the ace, and my boss ruffed, drew trumps, ruffed dummy's last diamond and led a heart. When West played the four, the boss put in dummy's ten.

"I took the jack but was end-played: Whether I led a diamond, conceding a ruff-sluff, cashed the ace of hearts or led a club, South would get his tenth trick.

"I told West if he obeys my signal at Trick One and shifts to a heart, we beat the contract. If declarer plays the ten, I take the jack and exit safely, and he loses two more tricks. My boss said only a heart opening lead would beat four spades. I said that was nonsense."

Who was right?

The boss was right, as usual. If East discourages in diamonds at Trick One, South can make the contract if he duly places East with the ace of hearts and the queen of clubs. Say West shifts to a heart, and East takes dummy's ten with the jack and exits with a trump. South then runs the trumps.

With four tricks left, dummy has the A-K-J of clubs and king of hearts.

East must guard his queen of clubs and hence bares the ace of hearts. South then leads a heart, end-playing East.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services