Bridge

Be­tween deals of a Chicago game, Un­lucky Louie told us he was in the mar­ket for a dog.

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“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.

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