Both sides vulnerable

NORTH (D)

{spade} A

{heart} K 10 8 6

{diam} J 10 3

{club} A K 5 3 2

WEST

{spade} J 10 9 4

{heart} 5 3 2

{diam} K 9 6 2

{club} J 8

EAST

{spade} K 8 5 2

{heart} 7 4

{diam} Q 8 7 4

{club} Q 10 9

SOUTH

{spade} Q 7 6 3

{heart} A Q J 9

{diam} A 5

{club} 7 6 4

The bidding: North EastSouthWest1 {club} Pass1 {heart} Pass3 {heart} Pass4 {diam} Pass6 {heart} All Pass Opening lead: {spade} J

It's a mistake to act rashly because you have limited time to think. Time given to thought is the greatest time-saver.

Say you're declarer at six hearts in a tournament, with about eight minutes allowed for each deal. Spend some time to count your tricks and decide on a line of play.

You start with eight tricks: a spade, four trumps, two clubs and a diamond. You can set up dummy's long clubs for two more tricks and ruff two spades in dummy, but you must ruff spades before you draw trumps, and you must set up the clubs while dummy still has a trump.

At the second trick, lead a low club from dummy. East wins and shifts to a diamond, and you take the ace, ruff a spade, return a trump to your hand and ruff a spade. You can then draw trumps and take the A-K of clubs -- and two more clubs.

You'll save time if you do most of your thinking at Trick One instead of trancing between every trick. For one thing, you'll seldom spend time explaining why you went down.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} Q 7 6 3 {heart} A Q J 9 {diam} A 5 {club} 7 6 4.

You are the dealer with neither side vulnerable. What do you say?

Answer: This is a mandatory opening bid. If you're a stolid five-card majorite, close your eyes and open one club. Even if you're playing five-card majors, a bid of one heart, treating your suit as a five-carder, doesn't look dishonest to me. Don't open one diamond. Opening bids on two-card "suits" are a recipe for disaster.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services