LIFE & CULTURE
Minnie Bottoms, my club’s senior member, wears old bifocals that make her mix up kings and jacks, often to her opponents’ dismay.
“My luck is bad enough,” Unlucky Louie said. “When I face Minnie and her glasses, what chance do I have?”
Louie was declarer at 3NT in a duplicate game. West led a low heart, dummy played the ten, and Minnie, East, contributed the jack.
“I had to take my king,” Louie said. “For all I knew, West had held A-Q-9-4-2. I led the queen of clubs next ... and Minnie said it was her lead!”
“She thought her jack of hearts was the king,” I laughed.
“We straightened her out,” Louie said, “but when she got in, she led the ace and a third heart. Down one.”
Louie was the only South to go down at 3NT. Every other East took the ace of hearts and returned the jack, letting South hold up the king effectively. I think Minnie’s play was astute. Minnie and dummy had 11 points. If South had at least 16, West might have the queen of hearts but not the king.
You hold: A432h 10 ( Q64 $ A J 10 7 5. Your partner opens one diamond. The next player passes. What do you say?
Answer: This is a close decision. You have only 11 high-card points, and if you judge to treat the hand as worth only an invitation to game, respond one spade. If you like your aces and diamond support and judge that the hand is worth forcing to game, respond two clubs and bid spades next. I would force, but I have no strong feelings.