Both sides vulnerable


{spade} A 9 7 6

{heart} 6 2

{diam} J 3

{club} K Q 10 9 6


{spade} K Q J 10

{heart} 4

{diam} A Q 7 4

{club} A 8 7 4


{spade} 5 4 2

{heart} 8 7 3

{diam} 10 9 8 6 2

{club} J 2


{spade} 8 3

{heart} A K Q J 10 9 5

{diam} K 5

{club} 5 3

The bidding: South WestNorth East1 {heart} DblRedblPass4 {heart} All Pass Opening lead: {spade} K

"If the whole human race lay in one grave, the epitaph on its headstone might read, 'It seemed a good idea at the time.' " -- Dame Rebecca West, British author

Beginners often make plays that seem like a good idea but fail to stand up to analysis. Today's declarer won the first spade and drew trumps -- which looked right at the time -- and led a club to dummy's king. East followed with the jack. South then conceded a spade, ruffed the next spade and led another club.

This time West took his ace and forced South to ruff a spade. South then had to lead diamonds from his hand, and he lost two diamonds to go down.

It would have been a better idea for South to refuse the first spade. He wins the next spade, ruffs a spade, draws trumps and leads a club.

When West plays low, South wins and ruffs dummy's last spade. He then leads another club, and if West takes the ace, he must either lead a diamond, letting South's king score, or lead a club to dummy.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} K Q J 10 {heart} 4 {diam} A Q 7 4 {club} A 8 7 4.

You open one diamond, your partner responds one heart, you bid one spade and he rebids two hearts. The opponents pass. What do you say?

Answer: Your partner has six or more hearts but at most nine points in high cards. Game is unlikely: His hand won't have enough entries to let you use the hearts at notrump, and at least four losers are likely at hearts. Pass. Two hearts may be your last makable contract.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services