E-W vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} J 3

{heart} J 8 7 3 2

{diam} Q 10 4 3

{club} 9 5

WEST (D)

{spade} K Q 9 8 7 6 4

{heart} None

{diam} 9 7 5

{club} K 10 6

EAST

{spade} A 10 5 2

{heart} 5

{diam} K J 6

{club} Q J 8 4 3

SOUTH

{spade} None

{heart} A K Q 10 9 6 4

{diam} A 8 2

{club} A 7 2

The bidding: WestNorthEastSouth3 {spade} Pass4 {spade} 5 {heart}All Pass Opening lead: {spade} K

Nobody is as impatient as a husband whose wife says she'll be ready in a minute -- but today's declarer came close.

When East-West preempted, South bid only five hearts. Many players would have tried six hearts since North needed only a good minor suit to make it. South ruffed the opening lead, drew trumps, and led the ace and a low diamond to dummy's ten. East took the jack and king, and South also lost a club. Down one.

"We should've bid five spades," East mumbled. What did he mean?

South played the diamonds too soon. He should ruff the first spade, lead a trump to dummy, ruff a spade and patiently lead the ace and a low club: a discovery play. East wins and returns a club, West plays the king and dummy ruffs.

South can then place East with the king of diamonds since West's hand would be too strong to preempt with two side kings. So South leads a trump to his hand and returns a diamond to dummy's ten. When East takes the jack, he is end-played.

Yes, five spades was cold.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} A 10 5 2 {heart} 5 {diam} K J 6 {club} Q J 8 4 3.

Your partner opens one diamond, and the next player passes. What do you say?

Answer: If your partner had opened one heart, your hand would be worth an invitational sequence to game, hence you'd respond one spade to look for a fit in the major suit. Partner's one diamond improves your hand, though, and to force to game is reasonable. Respond two clubs, planning to bid spades and then support the diamonds.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services