Both sides vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} Q 9 3

{heart} A K J 10

{diam} K J 10 9

{club} 5 4

WEST

{spade} A 7 2

{heart} Q 9 8 6 5 2

{diam} 2

{club} J 6 2

EAST

{spade} 5 4

{heart} 7 3

{diam} 8 7 3

{club} A K Q 10 8 3

SOUTH (D)

{spade} K J 10 8 6

{heart} 4

{diam} A Q 6 5 4

{club} 9 7

The bidding: SouthWestNorthEast1 {spade} Pass2 {diam} 3 {club}3 {diam} 4 {club} 4 {spade} All Pass Opening lead: {diam} 2

Larry Cohen, a top player and the author of a landmark book on the Law of Total Tricks, has produced a fine interactive CD-ROM. Cohen's "My Favorite 52" challenges you to handle deals he faced in major tournaments.

Cohen has you defend today's four spades as East. In a pairs event (where overtricks matter), West leads his singleton diamond. Dummy wins, and East plays the three as a suit-preference signal: a low diamond to show strength in the low-ranking suit. South next takes the A-K of hearts, pitching a club, and continues with the jack.

Cohen leads you along and helps you reason out East's correct defense: East must ruff, otherwise South will throw his last club as a loser on a loser. Then East can't get in to give West a diamond ruff, and South makes an overtrick.

"My Favorite 52," easy to use, full of insight and wit, highly recommended. Call Baron-Barclay, 800-274-2221, or visit its Web site at www.baronbarclay.com.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} 5 4 {heart} 7 3 {diam} 8 7 3 {club} A K Q 10 8 3.

Your partner opens 1NT, and the next player passes. What do you say?

Answer: This is a common problem, but since inexperienced players often fail to get it right, it bears repeating occasionally. Raise to 3NT. Your distribution is semi-balanced, your club suit will take tricks at notrump, and the nine-trick game will almost always be easier to make than the 11-trick club game.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services