N-S vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} A K

{heart} A K

{diam} A J 6 5 3

{club} J 7 3 2

WEST (D)

{spade} J 7 4 2

{heart} Q 10 8 6

{diam} Q 10 9 8

{club} 9

EAST

{spade} 9 8 5 3

{heart} 9 7 4 2

{diam} 4

{club} A K Q 8

SOUTH

{spade} Q 10 6

{heart} J 5 3

{diam} K 7 2

{club} 10 6 5 4

The bidding:WestNorthEastSouthPass1 {diam} Pass1 NTPass3 NT All Pass Opening lead: {heart} 6

Contract bridge celebrates its 80th birthday this year, and Bridge World magazine has chronicled the game's evolution for 76 of those years. Bridge World has a sterling reputation among experts but also offers material for advancing players.

In today's deal from a quiz in the magazine, West leads a heart against South's 3NT. How should South play for nine tricks?

If South can safely cash his queen of spades, he needs only four diamond tricks. But since he has a possible diamond loser, he should plan to lose a diamond before he takes the queen of spades. So South wins the first heart, unblocks the A-K of spades, leads a diamond from dummy and plays low from his hand.

South wins the heart return and takes the king of diamonds. He can then cash his queen of spades and take the marked finesse with the jack of diamonds to assure the contract.

No serious player can do without Bridge World (www.bridgeworld.com).

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} A K {heart} A K {diam} A J 6 5 3 {club} J 7 3 2.

The dealer, at your right, opens two spades, a weak two-bid showing seven to 10 points and a six-card suit. What do you say?

Answer: This is a tough problem. The preempt has crowded the bidding and forces you to guess. A double might induce your partner to bid too high at hearts. You must assume he has a few values, hence a leap to 3NT might work. Since the long suits are poor, though, I'd try a timid overcall of 2NT.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services