N-S vulnerable


{spade} 8 2

{heart} 10 8 4 2

{diam} K Q 10 5 2

{club} A 4


{spade} Q 7 6

{heart} 9 7 6 3

{diam} 7 4

{club} 10 8 6 2


{spade} J 10 9 4

{heart} A 5

{diam} A 8 6

{club} K J 7 3


{spade} A K 5 3

{heart} K Q J

{diam} J 9 3

{club} Q 9 5

The bidding:EastSouthWestNorth1 {club} 1 NT Pass3 NTAll Pass Opening lead: {club} 2

"My partner is so slow," a fan writes, "she takes an hour to make instant coffee. The only time she plays quickly is when she shouldn't: at Trick One."

My fan was dummy in today's deal and watched South promptly play low from dummy on the first club.

"East took the king and led the jack of spades," my fan says, "and my partner slowed to her normal pace. She finally took the king and led the king of hearts. East won and led a low spade, and my partner played low, won the next spade, took the Q-J of hearts and led a diamond. East won and cashed a spade: down one."

All the thought in the world won't help South after the first trick. Since the opening bid marks East with the king of clubs, South must put up the ace and force out the ace of hearts. If East continues clubs, South wins, unblocks the Q-J of hearts and leads a diamond. South is sure of three hearts, two diamonds, two clubs and two spades.

If East has five clubs and both red aces, South can never make 3NT.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} J 10 9 4 {heart} A 5 {diam} A 8 6 {club} K J 7 3.

The dealer, at your right, opens one heart. You double, the next player jumps to three hearts and your partner bids three spades. The opening bidder passes. What do you say?

Answer: Your opponent's jump to three hearts was preemptive. Your partner is competing for the partscore, and you mustn't punish him when your values are minimum. Pass. If partner thought game was possible, he'd have taken a chance and bid it.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services