February 11, 2022 – The Mercury News

“It’s bad enough that she’s beating me,” Cy the Cynic moaned to me in the club lounge. “Now she’s beating me after double-crossing me.”

Minnie Bottoms, our senior member, wears old bifocals that cause her to confuse kings and jacks, often to the dismay of her opponents. Cy was Minnie’s main victim.

“Look at this,” Cy said, posting today’s offer. “I was on the south and Minnie on the east. After hammering me to four spades, West led the jack of hearts. Minnie took the ace and firmly put down the jack of clubs.


“She thought her valet was the king,” I laughed. “She was taking her four fastest laps.”

“I took the mannequin king,” said the cynic. “After convincing Minnie it wasn’t her lead in round three, I led a trump. Minnie won, frowned, and ran a club LOW. West won and led a heart, and Minnie cut. Down one.

“Quite a show,” I sighed.

“She’s an expert disguised as a little old woman,” growled Cy.

After the first lead, Minnie found the only winning defense.


You hold: SA 8 6 HAD 9 8 5 3 2 CAJ 7 4. You open a diamond and your partner announces a spade. What are you saying?

ANSWER: Raise to two spades. Suppose you bid two clubs instead and your partner goes for two diamonds or 2NT. Then you have to pass; if you bid a third time, you will suggest interest in the game, and your hand is too weak for that. Raising a major flush response with decent three-card support in a minimal hand is a winning tactic.

South Dealer

NOT. vulnerable


SJ 7 2

HQ 8 6 5


CK 5 2



HJ 10 9 7 3 2

D 7 6

QC 8 6 3


SA 8 6


D 9 8 5 3 2

CAJ 7 4


QSK 10 9 5 3


AD 10 4

C 10 9

South West North East
1 Pass S 2 Pass C
Pass 2S Pass 3S
4S Pass Pass Double(!)
All pass

Opening Lead – HJ

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