Home World May 16, 2024 – The Mercury News

May 16, 2024 – The Mercury News


After a penny game ended, some of us went to a Chinese place for dinner. When the fortune cookies were passed out, Cy the Cynic wouldn’t open his.

“Might be some bad news in there,” Cy said.

Cy is a confirmed pessimist as well as a cynic. When he played at today’s four hearts, West led the ten of clubs, and East took the ace and returned the queen. Cy pondered … and played low.

West ruffed the next club and shifted to a spade, but Cy took dummy’s ace and ruffed a club with the queen of trumps. He drew trumps with the A-K, threw his jack of spades on the good fifth club and claimed, making four.


An optimistic South — rather, a reckless South playing for money — would put up his king on the second club; if West had led from the 10-9 doubleton, South could draw trumps, concede a club and take the rest for an overtrick. But West would ruff the king and lead a spade, winning four tricks for the defense.

A pessimist plays safe to assure the contract.


You hold: S J 2 H A Q 10 9 6 5 D 8 7 C K 6 5. You deal and open two hearts, a weak two-bid. Your partner bids 2NT. The opponents pass. What do you say?

ANSWER: Partner’s 2NT is an artificial inquiry. Pairs have various agreements. Some use graded rebids by opener: A bid of three clubs might conventionally show a poor suit and a minimum hand. A popular method has opener show a side feature: an ace or king. In that style, bid three clubs.

East dealer

Both sides vulnerable


S A Q 5

H K 8 2


C 8 7 4 3 2


S 10 9 8 4

H J 3

D 9 6 5 4 3 2

C 10


S K 7 6 3

H 7 4

D Q J 10

C A Q J 9


S J 2

H A Q 10 9 6 5

D 8 7

C K 6 5

East South West North
1 C 1 H Pass 2 C
Pass 2 H Pass 4 H
All Pass
Opening lead — C 10

©2024 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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