Between deals of a Chicago game, Unlucky Louie told us he was in the market for a dog.
“Try that pet store down the street,” said Cy the Cynic. “They have a special deal: Buy one dog, get one flea.”
When Louie played today’s four spades, West led the king of hearts, on which East signaled with the ten. (He should have signaled low, hoping West would find a diamond shift.) When West continued with the queen and jack, Louie ruffed and drew trumps.
Louie then thought he could take one finesse and get another free: He led a diamond to dummy’s queen. East took the king and returned a diamond, and Louie won, led a club to his king and tried for his contract by finessing with dummy’s jack.
“It’s a dog-eat-dog world,” Louie sighed as East took the queen and cashed a diamond.
Louie’s best play is to draw trumps ending in dummy and lead the last heart. When East follows, Louie discards a diamond. East must then lead a diamond or a club, giving Louie his 10th trick.
Daily Question: You hold: & AQ5 h 8 652 ( AQ2 $ A J 3. The dealer, at your right, opens one heart. What do you say?
Answer: If your opponent had opened in any other suit, you’d have a sound 1NT overcall. But though your strength and pattern are ideal, you can’t try 1NT with no heart strength. (You might survive at 1NT, but not if partner raised to 3NT.) Double, but your hand has too many losers to continue aggressively unless partner’s response is encouraging.