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Parting shots

“How long was Cy married?” Wendy, my club’s feminist, asked me. (She and Cy the Cynic, a chauvinist, are always at odds.) “It couldn’t have been long.”

“Why not?”

“A fool and his honey are soon parted,” Wendy grumbled.

Wendy had been Cy’s partner in a penny game, and he was declarer at four spades. Cy won the first heart, forced out the ace of trumps, ruffed the next heart, drew trumps, and led a diamond to the king and back to his jack. The finesse won, but the Cynic still lost a diamond and two clubs.

“The man’s an idiot,” Wendy growled.

Wendy thought Cy should have finessed in diamonds at Trick Two. He could lose a trump to the ace, ruff the heart return, draw trumps and lead a diamond to the king. When West’s ten fell, Cy could lead to his nine.

I don’t think Cy made a clear error. If he led trumps first and found East with the ace, he could play West for the queen of diamonds. Moreover, if Cy took an early diamond finesse, West could lead the ten of diamonds effectively after he took the ace of trumps.

You hold: ´ 6 4 ™ A 4 3 © K 5 3 ® Q 9 8 7 2. Your partner opens one spade, you respond 1NT, he bids two clubs and you raise to three clubs. Partner next bids three diamonds. What do you say?

A: Your partner has a good hand and is painting a picture of his pattern to help you judge whether you have useful cards. Your ace of hearts is ideal opposite his likely singleton. Cue-bid three hearts. You can make a slam if partner has A K 8 5 3, 2, A Q 4, K J 10 6.

West dealer

N-S vulnerable

NORTH

´ 6 4

™ A 4 3

© K 5 3

® Q 9 8 7 2

WEST EAST

´ A 7 2 ´ 8 3

™ K Q 10 8 7 ™ J 9 5 2

© 10 4 © Q 8 7 6

® A 10 4 ® K J 6

SOUTH

´ K Q J 10 9 5

™ 6

© A J 9 2

® 5 3

West North East South

1 ™ Pass 2 ™ 2 ´

Pass 2 NT Pass 4 ´

All Pass

Opening lead – ™ K

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