By Frank Stewart
Monday, December 18, 2006

"Where've you been?" I asked.

"Had a date with my psychiatrist," Cy mumbled. "And don't look at me like that. Even Santa Claus once saw a shrink."

"Santa had a problem?"

"He was having trouble believing in himself," Cy shrugged.

Cy, East, defended against today's 3NT. When West led the jack of clubs, dummy's queen won, and declarer next led a heart to his king. West took the ace and placed South with the king of spades (from his failure to attack the spades). So West shifted to the three of diamonds. Cy took the ace and returned ... a club. South claimed an overtrick.

I don't know about Santa Claus, but I know Cy didn't believe in his partner. If West had wanted Cy to shift back to clubs, he'd have led a high diamond, not the three. When West led a low diamond, he promised strong diamonds.

Cy should return a diamond when he takes the ace, and the defense gets four diamonds and a heart.


You hold: S 10 8 H A 9 D K J 5 3 C J 10 9 5 2. Your partner opens one club, and the next player passes. What do you say?

ANSWER: This hand is ideal for an invitational "limit raise" to three clubs. This treatment has displaced the old forcing double raise. Some pairs use "inverted" minor-suit raises in which a double raise is weak and a single raise is strong, but this type of hand, which is neither weak nor strong, is awkward to describe in that style.

South dealer

N-S vulnerable

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