North-South vulnerable


{spade} Q J 7 5 2

{heart} A K

{diam} Q 9 4

{club} J 7 3


{spade} 10 3

{heart} 8 6

{diam} J 10 7 5 3 2

{club} K 8 5


{spade} 9 8 6 4

{heart} J 5 3

{diam} K 8

{club} A Q 9 4


{spade} A K

{heart} Q 10 9 7 4 2

{diam} A 6

{club} 10 6 2

The bidding: SouthWestNorthEast1 {heart} Pass 1 {spade} Pass 2 {heart} Pass 4 {heart} All Pass Opening lead: {club} 5

If bridge had its Seven Deadly Sins:

Lust . . . would be trumping your partner's ace;

Avarice . . . risking your contract for an overtrick;

Envy . . . finessing against partner;

Gluttony . . . being a no-trump hog;

Pride . . . neglecting to count your tricks;

Anger . . . haranguing your partner;

And what's deemed to be the deadliest gaffe of all . . . giving declarer a ruff-sluff -- would be Sloth.

Today's West did well to lead an aggressive club against four hearts. He feared dummy's spade suit would give South discards, hence the defense needed to set up or cash tricks quickly.

After the defense took the ace, king and queen, East led a spade. South took the A-K of spades and the A-K of trumps and next threw his losing diamond on the queen of spades. When West couldn't ruff, South came to the ace of diamonds, drew the last trump and claimed.

East's defense was slothful. Once West shows the king of clubs, South needs every missing high honor to have an opening bid. Since only the trump suit offers the defenders a chance for a fourth trick, East should lead the 13th club at Trick Four.

East gives South the dreaded ruff-sluff, but it costs nothing: Even if South has a loser in his hand to sluff, he can't afford to ruff with a high trump in dummy. Moreover, West also gets a chance to sluff: When South ruffs with the ten of trumps, West pitches a spade. When South then tries to unblock the top spades before he takes dummy's high trumps, West ruffs.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services