Baltimore Sun

Bridge Play

- Frank Stewart

Cy the Cynic, a member of my club, says there is no point in being a pessimist; it’ll never help you anyway. But declarer must sometimes take a pessimisti­c view: He must protect a contract by catering to a foul lie of the cards.

In today’s deal North raised South’s game-try of 2NT to 3NT. The ninetrick game was more likely to succeed than an

11-trick game at diamonds

(and maybe a 10-trick game at hearts even if

South had five cards in hearts).

When West led the jack of spades, South took dummy’s ace and cashed the A-K of diamonds, expecting a normal 3-2 break. The breaks were abnormal instead, and South won only seven tricks.


South was an optimist when he needed to be a pessimist. At Trick Two, dummy must lead a low diamond. South can win any return and run the diamonds, winning five diamonds, two spades, a heart and a club.

At matchpoint duplicate, South might reasonably try for an overtrick. At other forms of scoring, he must try to assure the contract.


You hold: ♠ K53 ♥ AJ84 ♦ 54 ♣ A 10 9 3. Your partner opens one diamond, you respond one heart and he bids one spade. What do you say?

ANSWER: This case is close, and much depends on your partner’s style. If his opening bids are known to be sound, bid 3NT. If instead he tends to open light, shapely hands, settle for 2NT, invitation­al. With most partners, I would commit to game because of the good intermedia­te cards in clubs.

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