September 26, 2021 – The Mercury News


“You’re writing about logical thinking,” one read in a fan’s email, “and drawing inferences from the auction or the opening track. You should come and play in my regular game. My opponents are not trustworthy. Sometimes they make offers and games that defy logic.

I can understand my fan’s distress, but the “I can’t trust my opponents” argument has never impressed me. Suppose you base a game on the assumption that your opponent logically defended, and you lose because they did something stupid. You won’t lose sleep: you can tell yourself that you made a thoughtful game that failed because your opponent was having lunch. But if you assume that your opponent was wrong when they defended well, you will only have yourself to blame.

In today’s deal, West leads the seven of spades against 1NT, and East takes the Ace and returns the 2: Jack, Queen. South waits for a third spade, but West goes to Jack of Hearts! What should the declarant think about it? How should he resolve his two-way guess for the Queen of Diamonds?

West’s failure to continue the spades must mean he doesn’t have a sure entry into his long flush, so East has the ace of clubs. But East also showed the ace of spades and is scored by the queen of hearts after West’s lead over the jack. As few East would pass with 12 points in third place, South can place West with the queen of diamonds. Then South takes the ace and leads to the dead man’s jack. He will win at least seven rounds.

If East showed up with the Queen of Diamonds… well, South would have a good story to tell after the game.

West Dealer

No vulnerable side


S 6 5 3

HK 4 3 2

DKJ 7 2

CK 4


LP 10 8 7 4

HJ 10 7

QD 6

QC 5 3


SA 2

HQ 9 8

D 9 8 5

CA 10 9 8 7



HA 6 5

AD 10 4 3

CJ 6 2

West North East South
Pass Pass Pass 1 D
Pass 1 H Pass 1 NT
All pass

Opening wire – S 7

(C) 2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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