N-S vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} 9 2

{heart} A J 7 5 4 2

{diam} J 5 3

{club} 6 2

WEST

{spade} Q 8 5

{heart} Q 10 8 3

{diam} Q 10 7 6 2

{club} 5

EAST

{spade} K J 7 6

{heart} K 9

{diam} 9 4

{club} J 9 8 7 4

SOUTH (D)

{spade} A 10 4 3

{heart} 6

{diam} A K 8

{club} A K Q 10 3

The bidding: South WestNorthEast 1 {club} Pass1 {heart} Pass2 {spade} Pass3 {heart}Pass3 NT All Pass Opening lead: {diam} 6

Cy the Cynic is so stingy I think he's saving up for a rainy decade. (I happen to know that Cy used to play golf but gave it up because he lost his ball.)

When Cy plays in the penny Chicago game at my club, he tries to squeeze every penny from every deal. When I watched him as declarer at 3NT, he put up dummy's jack to win the first diamond. Next, with a possible overtrick and an extra 30 cents in sight, the Cynic cashed the A-K of clubs. West discarded, and though Cy struggled hard, he wound up with only eight tricks.

After the friendly opening lead -- any lead but a diamond would have beaten 3NT -- Cy should have settled for 600 points. He can take the ace of clubs at Trick Two but should then play safe by leading a heart to dummy's ace and returning a second club. When East follows low, Cy plays the 10.

Even if West could produce the jack, the defense could take at most three heart tricks, and Cy would be sure of four club tricks and nine tricks in all.

Daily Question

You hold:

{spade} K J 7 6 {heart} K 9 {diam} 9 4 {club} J 9 8 7 4.

Your partner opens one heart, you respond one spade, he bids two diamonds and you try two hearts. Partner then bids two spades. What do you say?

Answer: Your preference bid of two hearts promised at most nine points, yet partner was willing to bid again, showing game interest. Since your values are close to a maximum, you can accept. Bid 3NT. A club opening lead and continuation may help you.

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services