N-S vulnerable

NORTH (D)

{spade} Q 10 5

{heart} 9 6 3

{diam} A K J 6 4

{club} A 6

WEST

{spade} 8 6 3

{heart} K

{diam} 10 7 2

{club} K 10 9 8 4 3

EAST

{spade} A 4

{heart} A J 8 7 5 4

{diam} 8 5

{club} J 7 2

SOUTH

{spade} K J 9 7 2

{heart} Q 10 2

{diam} Q 9 3

{club} Q 5

The bidding: North EastSouthWest1 {diam} 1 {heart} 1 {spade} Pass

2 {spade}Pass2 NT Pass3 NT All Pass

Opening lead: {heart} K

Cy the Cynic, who should know, says the cure for love at first sight is to take a second look.

Today's West led the king of hearts against 3NT, and East must have seen not only hearts but flowers: He signaled with the eight . . . but West couldn't find another heart. West shifted to the ten of clubs, but South won with the queen and lost a spade to the ace. East's ace of hearts won the defenders' last trick, and South made an overtrick.

East was infatuated with the hearts, but if he took a second look, he'd know West had no more: South's 2NT promised a stopper. Since East has only one entry, he won't beat 3NT with heart tricks.

South may have nine or more tricks once he sets up the spades. Even if West has the queen of diamonds, South can win a finesse. Hence East must try the clubs. He should overtake the king of hearts and lead a low club.

South can take the ace, run the diamonds and win two heart tricks, but the defenders take the rest. Down one.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} A 4 {heart} A J 8 7 5 4 {diam} 8 5 {club} J 7 2.

Your partner opens 1NT, and the next player passes. What do you say?

Answer: You have the right values for game at hearts, but modern players use "transfers": Bid two diamonds, forcing partner to bid two hearts, and then bid four hearts. The "Texas" convention is also common: You bid four diamonds, forcing four hearts from partner. That lets you use the first sequence as a mild try for slam.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services