LIFE & CULTURE
“You have all your Christmas presents wrapped?” I asked Unlucky Louie. He has kids and grandkids; Christmas is a major undertaking.
“If you’ve ever seen a butcher wrapping an order of pork chops,” Louie said grimly, “you’ve seen me wrapping gifts.”
Louie may be only fair at gift-wrapping, but he perpetrated some butchery as today’s declarer. Against six spades, West led a diamond, and Louie took the ace, drew trumps and next led a club to dummy’s jack. East won and returned a diamond.
Louie took dummy’s king and led a low heart to his jack, winning, but East still got a heart. Down one.
Could you avoid making ground beef out of the slam?
After Louie draws trumps, he should finesse in hearts. If the finesse lost, he would need the club finesse. But when his jack of hearts wins, Louie can take the king of diamonds, ruff dummy’s last diamond and lead the ace and a third heart. East is end-played, forced to lead a club from his queen. You hold: KQ1065 AJ2 ( A6 $ 5 3 2. Your partner opens one heart, you respond one spade and he bids two diamonds. What do you say? Answer: A jump to three hearts would be ideal if it were forcing, but most pairs treat such a jump-preference as invitational, showing a hand such as K Q 10 6 5, A J 2, J 6, 5 3 2. Bid four hearts or, if you prefer to mark time, bid three clubs, a “fourth-suit” action that might get you to a winning 3NT contract. by Dana Summers