N-S vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} K J

{heart} A Q 3

{diam} J 10 9 3

{club} 7 5 3 2

WEST

{spade} A 9 7 5 4 2

{heart} 10 6 2

{diam} K 4

{club} J 6

EAST

{spade} Q 8

{heart} J 9 7 4

{diam} 8 7 5

{club} Q 10 9 8

SOUTH (D)

{spade} 10 6 3

{heart} K 8 5

{diam} A Q 6 2

{club} A K 4

The bidding: SouthWestNorthEast 1 NT Pass3 NT All Pass Opening lead: {spade} 5

Having a one-track mind is seldom an advantage, especially if the track goes to certain places, but only a player with a one-trick mind will make today's game.

The actual declarer gave his play at Trick One little thought: He expected one and only one spade trick no matter what he did. When dummy played the jack, East took the queen and returned a spade, and West won and led a third spade.

South won with his ten but was at the mercy of the diamond finesse. It lost, and West cashed three spades for down two.

It was a one-trick deal: Everything depended on what South did out of the starting gate. Most of the time his play won't matter -- but it does in one case: when West began with six spades headed by the ace.

South must therefore put up the king on the first spade. He loses the diamond finesse next, but since East's queen of spades blocks the suit, the defense can't run the spades. South then takes three diamonds, three hearts, two clubs and a spade.

Daily Question

You hold:

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

Your partner opens one spade, you respond two diamonds and he bids two hearts. The opponents pass. What do you say?

Answer: You have enough values to invite game and must act again, but you have no perfect bid. You should neither raise the hearts with only three-card support nor bid 2NT with worthless clubs. Bid two spades. You'd rather have three-card support, but your K-J are as good as three low spades.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services