I do crossword puzzles. I figure as long as I can finish the New York Times Sunday puzzle in ink, I’m not on the brink of senility.
A recent clue was “What fastidious people can’t be.”
In today’s deal, declarer’s play was fast but hardly fastidious. He finessed with dummy’s queen on the first spade, and East won and led the eight of diamonds. South played low, and West won and exited with a spade.
Declarer then cashed the ace of trumps — and West showed out. South took the king of trumps, led a club to dummy and tried another diamond finesse, but West won, and East’s trump trick defeated the contract.
Fastidious people can’t be too careful, and neither can good declarers. South should take the ace of spades at Trick One and cash the A-K of trumps. He next takes the A-K of clubs, ruffs dummy’s last club and exits with a spade.
East can win and lead a diamond, but when West wins, he is end-played. He must return a diamond or concede a fatal ruff-sluff.
Daily Question: You hold: & J9532 h None ( KQ7 $ 10 7 6 5 2. Neither side vulnerable. Your partner opens one spade, the next player doubles, you bid four spades and left-hand opponent tries five hearts. Two passes follow. What do you say? Answer: To go to five spades might be right. Your partner might even make it if he has a suitable hand. But once you have preempted and the opponents have bid on, it is often best to hope they have misjudged. I would pass.