E-W vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} A 10 5 2

{heart} A 6 5

{diam} A J 3

{club} Q 7 4

WEST

{spade} Q 8 6 4

{heart} 7 4 3

{diam} K 2

{club} A J 9 5

EAST (D)

{spade} J 7

{heart} 10 9 8

{diam} 8 6 5 4

{club} 10 8 3 2

SOUTH

{spade} K 9 3

{heart} K Q J 2

{diam} Q 10 9 7

{club} K 6

The bidding: East South WestNorthPass1 {diam} Pass1 {spade}Pass1 NT Pass3 NT All Pass Opening lead: Choose it

Anyone could take 11 tricks at today's 3NT from the ACBL Summer Championships. But the deal arose in the Life Master Pairs, and not "anyone" wins that lofty event.

West considers his opening lead at length and tables a heart. Can you win 12 tricks for a top score?

Say you take the king and lead the ten of diamonds. West covers, so you have 11 tricks. The only chance for 12 is a squeeze in spades and clubs.

At most tables South led a club to his king next. When West won, South could take only the 11 obvious winners. But say South judges (from West's huddle at Trick One and his failure to lead a club) that West has the ace of clubs. South leads a diamond to his hand, returns the six of clubs to dummy's queen and runs his red-suit winners.

With four tricks to go, West must save three spades and the bare ace of clubs. South exits with a club, and West must lead a spade. He'll do best to lead the queen, but South can guess well to take the last three tricks.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} A 10 5 2 {heart} A 6 5 {diam} A J 3 {club} Q 7 4.

With neither side vulnerable, the dealer, at your right, opens one club. What do you say?

Answer: Despite your 15 points, nothing compels you to act. The hand has values, especially the queen of clubs, that are more useful for defense. Some players might double or risk a 1NT overcall, but the hand is too bereft of winners to make any action appealing. I'd pass and hope for a plus on defense.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services