Cy the Cynic’s former job, if any, is a mystery at my club. Cy won’t talk about it, save to give gag answers to queries. “Cy, were you a baker?” “Only when I kneaded the dough.” “An archaeologist?” “My career lay in ruins.” “Did you work in an auto shop rotating tires?” “Off and on.” “Off and on” describes Cy’s play: brilliance or blunder. At four spades, Cy took the ace of hearts, led a trump to his hand and returned a diamond: four, 10, king. He won the next heart, led a trump to his hand and passed his nine of diamonds to the ace.
The Cynic ruffed East’s heart return and drew trumps; he had none left. He took the queen of diamonds and ace of clubs but lost the rest. Down one.
Cy was off. At Trick Two, dummy must lead a diamond. Cy wins the heart return, concedes a diamond, ruffs the next heart and leads a diamond to the queen. East can ruff, but if he leads a heart, Cy crossruffs for 10 tricks; if a trump, Cy draws trumps and scores his long diamonds.
Question: You hold: ♠ 108 ♥ AK83 ♦ Q 10 6 ♣ A 10 9 4. You open one club, your partner responds one spade, you bid 1NT and he raises to 2NT. What do you say?
Answer: This decision is close. You have no extra high-card strength and no spade honor to help set up partner’s suit. As against that, your three 10s add to the value of your hand. If your side is vulnerable, with more to gain, bid 3NT.