Both sides vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} 9 7 6 3

{heart} 8 7 5 2

{diam} 8 7

{club} 7 6 2

WEST (D)

{spade} J

{heart} K J 9 6 4

{diam} A 6 5 2

{club} K J 5

EAST

{spade} 10 8 5 4 2

{heart} 10 3

{diam} 10 9

{club} Q 10 8 4

SOUTH

{spade} A K Q

{heart} A Q

{diam} K Q J 4 3

{club} A 9 3

The bidding: West NorthEastSouth1 {heart} PassPassDblPass1 {spade} Pass3 NTAll Pass Opening lead: {heart} 6

Unlucky Louie has a new excuse for losing: He claims he gets dealt the wrong cards. Louie had no complaints -- at least to start with -- when he picked up today's South cards. He was disappointed when West opened the bidding but still roared into 3NT. When West led a heart, Louie won with the queen and led the king of diamonds.

West took the ace and led the king of hearts, and Louie won and cashed the Q-J of diamonds. When East discarded, Louie had to lose the next diamond to West, who promptly cashed three hearts. Down one.

"I hold a hand with 25 high-card points," Louie sputtered, "and I go down because I get dealt the four of diamonds instead of the six."

How would you play 3NT?

After Louie wins the first heart, he probably succeeds by cashing his three top spades. West must discard twice, and only a West with a crystal ball will throw any hearts or the five and jack of clubs. If West throws a diamond, Louie forces out the ace of diamonds for 10 tricks.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} J {heart} K J 9 6 4 {diam} A 6 5 2 {club} K J 5.

Your partner opens one club, you respond one heart and he bids 1NT. The opponents pass. What do you say?

Answer: A bid of two diamonds would not be forcing (in many styles), hence jump to three diamonds. If partner next bids three hearts, you'll go to four hearts. If he bids 3NT, you'll pass; although you have club support, you'll prefer the nine-trick game at no-trump to the 11-trick club game.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services