February 26, 2024
“The man’s an opportunist,” Cy the Cynic grumbled in the club lounge. “He would pat me on the back, then bill me for a massage.” Cy was talking about Ed, our best player, who consistently takes Cy’s money in penny games. Cy showed me today’s deal from a team match. Both Souths played at four

“The man’s an opportunist,” Cy the Cynic grumbled in the club lounge. “He would pat me on the back, then bill me for a massage.”

Cy was talking about Ed, our best player, who consistently takes Cy’s money in penny games.

Cy showed me today’s deal from a team match. Both Souths played at four hearts, and West led the nine of spades.

“When my teammate was South,” the Cynic said, “he ruffed, took dummy’s A-K of trumps, unblocked the A-K of diamonds, ruffed a spade and took the queen of trumps. Unfortunately, West discarded. When declarer led a high diamond, East ruffed and led the king of clubs (!) to dummy’s ace, and South lost the rest. Down two.”

SEVEN TRUMPS

“I led the nine of spades at my table,” Cy went on. “Ed was declarer. He ruffed and took the A-K of diamonds, but then he cashed the ace of clubs and crossruffed spades and diamonds. He scored all seven of his trumps, plus three side-suit tricks. Making four. He’s a magician.”

Ed gets a pat on the back for his play.

DAILY QUESTION

You hold: S Q 8 6 5 4 H A K D A K C A 7 6 5. The dealer, at your right, opens one heart. You double, and your partner responds (“advances”) two diamonds. What do you say?

ANSWER: Assuming your opponent had a decent opening bid, your partner can’t have many points and may have none. Though you have 20 points, your long suit is ragged, and you lack a clear source of winners. Bid two spades. If your partner passes, you are unlikely to miss game.

East dealer

N-S vulnerable

NORTH

S Q 8 6 5 4

H A K

D A K

C A 7 6 5

WEST

S 9 3 2

H 5 3

D 8 6 5 3 2

C Q 10 9

EAST

S A K J 10 7

H 7 6 4 2

D 7 4

C K J

SOUTH

S None

H Q J 10 9 8

D Q J 10 9

C 8 4 3 2

East South West North
1 S Pass Pass Dbl
Pass 2 H Pass 2 NT
Pass 4 H All Pass
Opening lead — S 9

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