Baltimore Sun

Bridge Play

- Frank Stewart

“I give up,” Cy the Cynic told me. “I capitulate.” “Minnie got you again?”

Minnie Bottoms, my club’s senior member, wears old bifocals that make her mix up kings and jacks, often to her opponents’ dismay. Cy has been Minnie’s chief victim.

Cy played at today’s 3NT, and West led a spade. When dummy played low, Minnie, East, contribute­d the jack! The Cynic took his queen and led a club, but Minnie won and led the king of spades. She won the next club and led her last spade, and West ran the spades. Down one.


“She thought her jack of spades was the king,” I smiled.

“No way,” Cy said. “She’s an expert disguised as a little old lady. The woman has my number.”

“You’ve got your own number,” growled Wendy, Cy’s adversary. Minnie’s play was correct; on the bidding, West could have no points. As for Cy, he makes 3NT by putting up dummy’s ace on the first spade or by letting Minnie’s jack win. Either play would earn an exclamatio­n mark from me.


You hold: ♠ KJ3 ♥ 10965 ♦ Q1074 ♣ A K. You open one diamond, and your partner bids one spade. What do you say?

ANSWER: Expert opinion might be split down the middle. A bid of 1NT, promising a balanced, minimum opening bid, would be quite acceptable. I would try two spades. I have found raising a major-suit response with good three-card support in a suit-oriented hand to be a winning tactic. Auctions are easier when a trump suit is suggested


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