"Do you think some players are luckier than others?" Unlucky Louie asked me.
"I believe in luck," I said. "It's what you have left over after you give 100 percent."
In today's deal, West led the queen of clubs against South's game, and South won and led a trump. East took the ace and returned a club, and South won, drew trumps and tried a spade finesse with dummy's queen. Alas, East produced the king, and the defense cashed a club and a diamond. Down one.
Was South's play best?
South hardly gave the contract his best effort. He had a 50-50 chance - the spade finesse might have won - but could do better by leading a spade to the queen at Trick Two. If the finesse won, South would start the trumps for 10 tricks.
When East actually takes the king of spades and returns a club, South wins and tries a second spade finesse with the 10. He can discard his losing club on the ace of spades. The best line of play makes declarer almost a 3-to-1 favorite.

You hold: 8 3 T K Q 10 7 5 2 K Q A K 6. The dealer, at your right, opens one spade. What do you say?
A: This hand seems to be strong enough to double, then bid hearts next to show the extra strength. But if the opponents proceeded to preempt in spades, you might have to show your suit at an uncomfortable level. Overcall two hearts. The queen of diamonds may be a wasted card, so the hand is worth less than its point count suggests.
South dealer
Both sides vulnerable

A Q 10
T J 9 8
9 7 4 3
8 5 2

J 7 6 2 K 9 5 4
T 6 3 T A 4
A J 5 10 8 6 2
Q J 10 4 9 7 3

8 3
T K Q 10 7 5 2
A K 6

South West North East
1 T Pass 2 T Pass
4 T All Pass

Opening lead - Q