Unlucky Louie's bridge took a turn for the better: He quit - and left for a vacation in the mountains. But when he came back in late May, his game was like the man who swapped a sausage for a seabird: He took a tern for the wurst.

In a penny game, Louie landed at six spades. (Seven clubs would have been a fine contract - the 4-4 fit would have produced an extra trick - but as the cards lay, the 4-1 club break would have scuttled it.) When West led the queen of diamonds, Louie took the ace, drew trumps and cashed the A-K of clubs - and his prospects dimmed when West discarded.

Louie shrugged, accepting the bad break as his due. He tried for his 12th trick by taking the ace of hearts and finessing with the jack, and things went from bad to worse: East produced the queen and cashed the king of diamonds.

"A 4-1 club break and a losing finesse," Louie growled. "My luck didn't improve while I was away from here."

Louie's dummy play didn't either. How would you handle six spades?

The slam is unbeatable. After Louie draws trumps, he should cash the ace of clubs, then take the A-K of hearts and ruff dummy's jack. Louie next exits with a diamond.

Louie is always safe if the clubs break 3-2. If the defender who wins the diamond has no more clubs, he must concede a ruff-sluff. If he started with four clubs, he must lead a club to avoid yielding a ruff-sluff, and Louie plays a low club from the next hand and is sure to pick up the clubs.