N-S vulnerable


{spade} 9 5

{heart} K 10 6 4 2

{diam} J 6

{club} J 10 8 6


{spade} 7 4 2

{heart} A J 9 5

{diam} K 8 7 5 3

{club} 4


{spade} J 8

{heart} Q 8 7 3

{diam} 2

{club} K Q 9 7 3 2


{spade} A K Q 10 6 3

{heart} None

{diam} A Q 10 9 4

{club} A 5

The bidding: SouthWestNorthEast2 {club} Pass2 {diam} Pass 2 {spade} Pass2 NT Pass3 {diam} Pass3 NT Pass4 {spade} All Pass Opening lead: {club} 4

Unlucky Louie and I were looking over the scores from a duplicate game when we came to today's deal. Every North-South pair had reached four spades, and most had taken 11 tricks, losing a club and a diamond.

"I made six," Louie told me. "Against me, West led the ace of hearts. I ruffed, drew trumps and led a low diamond. I got to dummy with the jack of diamonds to pitch my losing club on the king of hearts."

"One South went down at four spades," I observed. "That looks impossible."

"Nothing is impossible for Minnie and those glasses of hers," said Cy the Cynic, joining us.

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

"What happened?" I asked Cy.

The story came out. Minnie's partner had led the four of clubs, and Cy had put up dummy's jack. Minnie, East, signaled with the seven! She thought she had the Q-J, and dummy's "king" had won.

"I found myself in dummy," Cy said, "so I naturally took the opportunity to let the jack of diamonds ride for a finesse. After all, it was duplicate, and I could see a chance for three overtricks."

West took the king of diamonds and returned a diamond, and Minnie ruffed and led a club. West ruffed Cy's ace (much to his amazement) and led another diamond. Cy ruffed desperately with dummy's nine, but Minnie overruffed with the jack. Down one!

(c)2005, Tribune Media Services