Neither side vulnerable


{spade} A 9 2

{heart} A J 3

{diam} 8 5

{club} 9 6 4 3 2


{spade} K 8 5 3

{heart} Q 10 5

{diam} Q 9 4 2

{club} Q 7


{spade} Q 10 7 4

{heart} 7

{diam} A K J 7 6

{club} 10 8 5


{spade} J 6

{heart} K 9 8 6 4 2

{diam} 10 3

{club} A K J

The bidding: WestNorthEastSouthPassPassPass1 {heart}Pass2 {heart} Dbl3 {heart}Pass4 {heart} All Pass Opening lead: {diam} 2

"Are finesses really 50-50 propositions?" a player asked me. "Mine usually lose."

Unlucky Louie had the answer. "Finesses are like marriages," Louie said, "and anyone who thinks marriage is a 50-50 proposition doesn't understand two things: women and fractions."

In today's deal, East took two diamonds and led a club. South won, cashed the K-A of trumps and next tried a club finesse with his jack. West took the queen, cashed the queen of trumps and shifted to a spade, and South had to lose a spade. Down two.

South's club finesse hardly had a 50-50 chance. East, who had passed in third position, had shown the A-K-J of diamonds (West would have led the queen from Q-J) and also had a spade honor (West would have led the king of spades otherwise). So West had the queen of clubs -- and the queen of trumps.

After South takes the king of trumps, he should lead a trump to the jack and take the ace. He then leads a club to his king and ends with an overtrick.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} A 9 2 {heart} A J 3 {diam} 8 5 {club} 9 6 4 3 2.

Your partner opens one diamond, you bid 1NT and he bids two hearts. The opponents pass. What do you say?

Answer: Partner has "reversed" and has at least 17 points with longer diamonds than hearts. With three valuable honors, you must commit to game. For the moment, bid two spades to show spade strength (but not length since you didn't respond one spade). If partner rebids in a red suit, you'll avoid notrump.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services