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Cy the Cynic says that if at first you don’t succeed, think of it as timed-release success. That won’t work for declarers who have several chances but try them in the wrong order.

At today’s slam, Cy took dummy’s ace of clubs and cashed the A-K of trumps. He next took the A-K of diamonds and led a third diamond from dummy. East discarded (not best), but when Cy’s queen won, Cy ruffed his last diamond, East overruffed with the jack and led a club. The Cynic discarded a heart on dummy’s king but still lost a heart to East’s king.


At Trick Two, Cy should lead a heart from dummy toward his queen. East takes the king and leads another club. Cy pitches a diamond on dummy’s king, draws trumps and has 12 tricks.

If West had the king of hearts, Cy would still be alive. He could win a heart return with the ace, discard his last heart on the king of clubs, take the A-K of trumps and test the diamonds, winning if the suit broke 3-3 or if he could ruff his fourth diamond in dummy.


You hold: S A Q 10 8 5 H Q 5 2 D A Q 4 2 C J. You open one spade, your partner responds 1NT, you bid two diamonds and he tries three clubs. What do you say?

ANSWER: Your partner has a weak hand with long clubs. Game is impossible, and his hand may produce no tricks unless clubs are trumps. Pass. To bid 3NT (or anything) would beg for trouble. He may scrape home with nine tricks if he has 3, K 4, 7 6 5, K Q 9 7 6 5 3, but his hand may be weaker than that.

North dealer

N-S vulnerable


S K 7 2

H A 6 3

D K 5 3

C A K 5 2


S 9 6

H J 8 7

D 10 8 7 6

C 9 8 7 3


S J 4 3

H K 10 9 4

D J 9

C Q 10 6 4


S A Q 10 8 5

H Q 5 2

D A Q 4 2


North East South West
1 NT Pass 3 S Pass
4 S Pass 5 D Pass
6 S All Pass

Opening lead — C 9

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