October 11, 2021 – The Mercury News


“I played with my partner to get perfect cards,” the cynical Cy told me after a losing session in his penny game. “It was pretty reckless, but he was playing me for perfect cards at the same time.”

Cy, today’s South, took a flyer and bet 6NT in his third round.

“I was hoping my partner had a hand like QJ 7 5 2, QJ 4 3, 7 2, 6 3,” Cy said. “He thought I would make a slam offer on my own. His offer had promised nothing. He had a king and a queen, so he scored the extra point.


The Cynic won the first diamond with the king, led a club to the king of dummy, and returned a club to his jack. Fineness won, but when West pulled out, East was sure to get a round of clubs.

I didn’t tell Cy he should have done his grand slam. Even if he wins five rounds of clubs, he needs four spades, so a 3-3 break. After Cy wins the first diamond, he cashed in the AK of hearts. When West calls, Cy must assume that West has a 3-2-7-1 pattern: Cy leads a club to the king and returns a club… to his nine.


You have: S 10 8 6 H 8 6 DQJ 10 9 8 6 3 C 7. You deal and open three diamonds, and your partner bids three spades. The opponents pass. What are you saying?

RESPONSE: The partner’s response to your preemption is forced. If he had a long flush but a poor hand, he would fold and play your long flush. Raise four spades. Your high card count is miserable, but you have a three card spade holder and a side singleton.

West Dealer

Vulnerable NS


LP 7 5 2

H 7 5 4 3

D 7 2

CK 6 3


S 10 8 6

H 8 6

DQJ 10 9 8 6 3

C 7


SJ 9 3

QGJ 10 9 2

D 4

QC 10 8 2





CAJ 9 5 4

3D Pass Dbl Pass
Skip 3S Skip 4D
Pass 4H Pass 6NT
Pass 7NT (!) All passes

First step – DQ

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