N-S vulnerable


{spade} 9 7 5 3

{heart} J 9 4

{diam} Q 10 7 2

{club} 9 5


{spade} J

{heart} A 8 2

{diam} 9 8 5 3

{club} J 7 6 3 2


{spade} Q 8

{heart} Q 10 6 5 3

{diam} A K

{club} K 10 8 4


{spade} A K 10 6 4 2

{heart} K 7

{diam} J 6 4

{club} A Q

The bidding: East SouthWestNorth1 {heart} Dbl 2 {heart} PassPass 2 {spade} 3 {heart} 3 {spade}Pass4 {spade} All Pass Opening lead: {diam} 9

Cy the Cynic says that if you jump at conclusions, you'll frighten the best ones away.

Today's West led a diamond against four spades, and East took the ace and then the king (showing a doubleton). He next led a club, and South put up the ace, drew trumps and took the Q-10 of diamonds to discard his queen of clubs. South then led a heart to his king, expecting East to have the ace. West won, and down South went.

South jumped to a conclusion. He can infer from the opening lead that West has the ace of hearts. West would lead the suit his side had bid if he had only low hearts or Q-x-x, but West might be reluctant to lead the ace.

When East leads a club at Trick Three, South should finesse. He draws trumps, pitches a heart on dummy's good diamond and loses one heart.

An expert East-West would beat four spades. On the second diamond, West plays the eight, his highest remaining diamond to show an entry in the high-ranking side suit. Then East leads a heart.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} Q 8 {heart} Q 10 6 5 3 {diam} A K {club} K 10 8 4.

Your partner opens one spade, you bid two hearts and he rebids two spades. The opponents pass. What do you say?

Answer: You still have room to reach 3NT, so you need not roar into that contract now. Take your time and try three clubs, a forcing bid in a new suit. If your partner has A K 7 6 5, 4, Q 10 6 5, A 7 6, he'll bid 3NT, and you'll pass, but if he holds A K J 7 5, 4, 8 7 6, A Q 9 3, you belong at six clubs.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services