“I think you’re around Cy too much,” I told Un­lucky Louie. “You’re start­ing to sound like him.”

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Frank Stewart Daily Ques­tion:

“Just be­cause I said it’s that won­der­ful time of the year,” Louie replied, “when I learn what I’m get­ting my wife for Christ­mas?”

Cy the Cynic is his usual cyn­i­cal self about the hol­i­days; he must be the Grinch’s first cousin. Louie just wor­ries about pay­ing for gifts for his big fam­ily. As de­clarer at to­day’s 3NT in a penny game, Louie took the king of spades, led a club to dummy and re­turned a heart to his nine.

West took the jack and led an­other spade, and Louie won, went to dummy and tried a heart to his queen. West pro­duced the king and cashed three spades. Down one.

“I’m go­ing to have to take out a loan,” Louie sighed.

Louie erred. He gets an ex­tra chance by cash­ing the ace of di­a­monds at Trick Two. If noth­ing good hap­pened, Louie would dou­ble-finesse in hearts. But when West’s sin­gle­ton queen falls, Louie can set up a sec­ond di­a­mond trick for nine in all.

You hold: AK A Q9 ( A1052 $ K J 6 5. Nei­ther side vul­ner­a­ble. The dealer, at your right, opens three spades. What do you say?

An­swer: Your op­po­nent’s pre­empt forces you to guess; it has cut away all your room for in­ves­ti­ga­tion. To bid with any ac­cu­racy and avoid be­ing stolen from, you must as­sume your part­ner has a few points. Bid 3NT. An op­tion would be to dou­ble for take­out, but then you might land at a poor con­tract of four hearts. by Dana Sum­mers

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