It's easy to meet expenses these days: You run into them everywhere. It's also easy to meet disaster on defense if you don't count--and it can be expensive.

South took the queen of hearts and led a club to his queen. West won and led . . . another heart, and South made an overtrick.

West can avoid disaster if he counts South's points and playing tricks. South played the queen of clubs, has the A-K of hearts and surely holds the ace of spades: If his spades were 10-x or x-x-x, he'd attack the spades 2001, Tribune Media Services

early. Moreover, South wouldn't spend the queen of hearts if he might need an entry to the spades.

Nine Tricks

So West can count 13 points for South, and South can't have the A-Q of diamonds. West can also count nine tricks for South: five spades, three hearts and one club.

So West must assume East has the ace of diamonds and shift at trick three to a LOW diamond (suggesting interest in diamonds, not hearts). When East wins and returns a diamond, South goes down.

South dealer

Both sides vulnerable


K Q J 6 3

(Heart) Q 5

* 10 8 4

K 6 3


WEST EAST 9 4 10 8 5 2 (Heart) J 10 9 6 3 (Heart) 8 7 K J 5 2 A 7 3 A 10 9 8 5 2



A 7

(Heart) A K 4 2

* Q 9 6

Q J 7 4


 SOUTH WEST NORTH EAST  1 NT Pass 3 Pass 3 NT All Pass


Opening lead-- (Heart) J

Question of the Day

You hold: 9 4 (Heart) J 10 9 6 3 * K J 5 2 A 10. Your partner opens one heart, and the next player passes. What do you say?

Answer: This hand is too weak for a forcing raise to three hearts and is unsuitable for a jump to four hearts. If your partnership has agreed to use "limit" double raises, a jump to three hearts is fine. Otherwise, temporize with a response of two diamonds, promising at least 10 points, and support the hearts next.

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