July 14, 2024
“At least it was only for matchpoints, not money.” We were commiserating with Cy the Cynic in the lounge after a duplicate. Cy had lost by one matchpoint — after being handed a zero on the final deal by his nemesis Minnie Bottoms. She wears old bifocals that make her mix up kings and jacks,

“At least it was only for matchpoints, not money.”

We were commiserating with Cy the Cynic in the lounge after a duplicate. Cy had lost by one matchpoint — after being handed a zero on the final deal by his nemesis Minnie Bottoms. She wears old bifocals that make her mix up kings and jacks, often to her opponents’ dismay.

“I played at four spades,” Cy told us. “Minnie was West and had doubled at her first turn. She led a diamond, and I took the ace and cashed the A-K of trumps. When East discarded, I led a club … and Minnie played the king.”

“Thinking it was the jack,” Rose smiled.

THIRD CLUB

“Say I take the A-Q,” the Cynic said, “and Minnie discards. East wins the third club and leads a heart, and I lose two hearts and a trump and go down. To make the contract, I must let the king of clubs win.

“I was plus 420,” Cy went on. “Every other South made an overtrick for plus 450, running the clubs for a heart discard.”

Poor Cy. Minnie and her spectacles have his number.

DAILY QUESTION

You hold: S Q 6 3 H A Q 7 6 D K 8 7 5 C K J. You are the dealer. What is your opening call?

ANSWER: If your partnership has agreed on a range of 15 to 17 high-card points to open 1NT, that bid would be defensible. But not all 15-point hands are equal. This hand has no intermediate spot cards to give it “body,” and four of the points are marooned in a doubleton. My inclination would be to treat the hand as a 14-pointer and open one diamond.

North dealer

Neither side vulnerable

NORTH

S J 5 4

H 9 5 4

D A J

C A Q 10 9 3

WEST

S Q 6 3

H A Q 7 6

D K 8 7 5

C K J

EAST

S 7

H J 10 8 2

D Q 10 9 6 4 3

C 5 2

SOUTH

S A K 10 9 8 2

H K 3

D 2

C 8 7 6 4

North East South West
1 C Pass 1 S Dbl
Pass 2 D 3 S Pass
4 S All Pass
Opening lead — D 5

©2023 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

>