N-S vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} A 10 3 2

{heart} J 9 4

{diam} K 4

{club} J 10 6 4

WEST

{spade} 9 6

{heart} 8 5 3

{diam} Q J 10 9 6

{club} K 9 2

EAST

{spade} K Q 8 7 4

{heart} A 7

{diam} 8 5 3

{club} 8 5 3

SOUTH (D)

{spade} J 5

{heart} K Q 10 6 2

{diam} A 7 2

{club} A Q 7

The bidding: SouthWestNorthEast1 NT Pass 2 {club} Pass2 {heart} Pass 3 NT All Pass Opening lead: {diam} Q

"Iwas playing in a family game with my grandmother," a fan writes, "and I opened 1NT as South. Granny has her views on bidding. She said if I ever again opened 1NT with a five-card major suit as her partner, she'd disinherit me.

"When we landed at 3NT, West led the queen of diamonds, and I took the king and led a heart. East rose with the ace and returned a diamond, and I ducked and won the third diamond.

"I then had eight tricks -- two diamonds, four hearts, a spade and a club -- so I led a heart to dummy and returned the jack of clubs. West won and cashed two diamonds for down one, and my grandmother announced that four hearts was cold.

"I know this is a gray area of bidding, but are you on my grandmother's side?"

It's black and white to some experts, who never open 1NT with a five-card major. Others do so freely.

I wonder what Granny would have rebid as South if she'd opened one heart and heard one spade from North. Although South's 1NT opening missed a heart fit and a superior game on this occasion, it gave a good description of South's strength and pattern in one bid and avoided rebid problems.

South makes 3NT with careful play. At Trick Two he must let the jack of clubs ride, forcing out West's entry. When West leads another diamond, South plays low, and if West then leads a third diamond instead of shifting to a spade, South takes the ace and leads a heart. His good play may produce an overtrick: If East takes the ace, he has no more diamonds.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services