April 16, 2024 – The Mercury News


“Cy says I’m irritable,” Wendy, my club’s resident feminist, told me.

“I wouldn’t say that,” I demurred.

“Of course women are irritable,” Wendy growled. “Men are irritating.”

“You two are still struggling on defense,” I sighed.

Wendy and Cy the Cynic are always at odds, even when they are partners in a penny game. In today’s deal, Wendy preempted with three spades as East, and South’s four hearts was passed out. Cy led the king and a second spade.

Wendy won and led a diamond. South won, led a trump to dummy’s jack, came back to his jack of clubs and continued trumps. Cy’s ace won the defenders’ last trick.


“Thanks, partner,” Wendy said with asperity. “Next time I’ll take a solo sacrifice at four spades: minus 300 instead of minus 620.”

I’m afraid Cy’s defense was irritating. He must cash his ace of trumps at Trick Two, then lead a second spade. Wendy wins and leads a third spade, and whether South ruffs high or low, Cy’s nine of trumps scores.


You hold: S A J 10 9 8 4 3 H 4 D 6 3 2 C 9 7. Only the opponents are vulnerable. You deal and open three spades, the next player overcalls four hearts, your partner bids four spades and the player at your right bids five hearts. What do you say?

ANSWER: This is not a problem. Don’t even look at your hand. Pass. Your preemptive opening described your hand, more or less — long, strong spades with little defense — and your partner makes the decisions.

West dealer

N-S vulnerable


S Q 7


D K J 9 4

C A K Q 8 5 2


S K 2

H A 9 7 2

D 10 8 5

C 10 6 4 3


S A J 10 9 8 4 3

H 4

D 6 3 2

C 9 7


S 6 5

H K Q 10 8 6 5 3

D A Q 7


West North East South
Pass 1 C 3 S 4 H
All Pass
Opening lead — S K

©2024 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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