Cy the Cynic leads an active social life.
“I heard you had a blind date with a woman who works for Verizon,” I said. “How did that go?”
“We never connected,” Cy grunted. As today’s West, Cy faced what you might consider a blind opening lead against 3NT. But Cy reasoned that he should lead a major, and the ace of spades might be an entry to set up heart tricks. So Cy led the deuce of hearts: three, king, ace.
South next led a spade, and the Cynic stuck to his plan: He took the ace to lead the jack of hearts, winning, and a third heart. South won, but when he next finessed in diamonds, East took the king and cashed two hearts. Down one.
I suppose Cy’s reasoning was sound, but South misplayed. South has no worries if hearts are split 4-4, but if Cy led from a three-card holding, South must force out East’s entry early, before his hearts are good. So at Trick Two, South must finesse in diamonds.
When East wins and returns a heart, South ducks, wins the third heart and leads a spade. He is safe when Cy has the ace but no more hearts.
You hold: ♠ J 10 5 2 ♥ AQ7 ♦ Q94 ♣ A 9 6. Your partner opens one club, you bid one spade and he raises to two spades. What do you say?
ANSWER: You have enough strength for game. Bid 3NT, giving partner a choice if he raised you with three-card support. Even if in your style he promises four-card support, to try 3NT would be reasonable. (In today’s deal, South responded 2NT to a one-diamond opening with this hand — for reasons best known to him.)