Both sides vulnerable

NORTH (D)

{spade} A 3 2

{heart} K J 8 7 3

{diam} A J 2

{club} 5 2

WEST

{spade} Q 10 5

{heart} Q 9 4 2

{diam} 6 3

{club} Q J 10 8

EAST

{spade} 7 4

{heart} 10 6 5

{diam} Q 10 9 4

{club} 9 7 6 4

SOUTH

{spade} K J 9 8 6

{heart} A

{diam} K 8 7 5

{club} A K 3

The bidding:NorthEastSouthWest1 {heart} Pass1 {spade} Pass2 {spade} Pass4 NT Pass5 {heart} Pass6 {spade} All Pass Opening lead: {club} Q

Maybe hard work never killed anyone, but relaxation also causes few casualties. That may explain why South went down at today's slam.

South took the A-K of clubs and ruffed a club in dummy.

He next cashed the ace of trumps and tried a relaxing finesse with the jack, but West produced the queen and led another club. South ruffed in his hand and finessed with the jack of diamonds, but East took the queen: down one.

Assuming a little work doesn't scare you, how would you play the slam?

South's best chance, though it requires slightly more effort than taking finesses, is to set up the hearts. South takes the ace of hearts at the second trick and then the K-A of trumps, declining a finesse.

When both defenders follow low, South discards a diamond on the king of hearts, ruffs a heart, takes the ace of clubs, ruffs a club and ruffs another heart.

He can then go to the ace of diamonds and throw another diamond on the good fifth heart, losing only one trump trick.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} K J 9 8 6 {heart} A {diam} K 8 7 5 {club} A K 3.

Your partner opens one diamond, and the next player passes. What do you say?

Answer: Bid two spades, showing slam interest, and support the diamonds next. Tell partner that slam is likely and a trump suit is available. If he holds a minimum such as A Q 4, 7 6 5, A Q 9 2, J 5 4, you can make seven diamonds. But if the opening bid were one club, you'd respond one spade since the proper trump suit would be in doubt.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services