Trying Times

Dealer: East
Both sides vulnerable

S 10 7
H 7 5 3 2
D A Q J 10
C Q J 10
S J 4
H 6 4
D 9 7 6 2
C K 9 6 4 2
S A K 9 6 3 2
H 9
D 8 4 3
C A 8 5
S Q 8 5
H A K Q J 10 8
D K 5
C 7 3
1 S2 HPass3 H
Pass4 HAll Pass
Opening Lead: S J

“Think you’ll ever marry again?” I asked Cy the Cynic.”No way,” he grunted.

“You might change your mind,” I prodded. “If you’re ever thinking about it, maybe you could consider a trial marriage.”

“What marriage isn’t a trial?” Cy snorted.

Cy was today’s West, and his partnership with East was sorely tried. Against four hearts, Cy led the jack of spades, and East took the king and ace. When declarer played the five and eight, East led a third spade to let Cy ruff in front of dummy.


Alas, the Cynic couldn’t produce a trump higher than dummy’s seven, so South made an overtrick, drawing trumps and running the diamonds to discard his clubs.

“Great defense,” Cy growled.

East loses nothing by consulting his partner. At Trick Three East must cash the ace of clubs. If Cy had a high trump, he would signal with a discouraging club, and East would lead a third spade. On the actual deal, Cy will encourage in clubs, and East will trustingly lead a second club.


You hold:
SJ 4
H6 4
D9 7 6 2
CK 9 6 4 2
. The dealer, at your left, opens one diamond. Your partner doubles, you bid two clubs and he raises to four clubs. What do you say?

This case is deceptively close. Your partner has undertaken a 10-trick contract not knowing that you have a decent five-card suit. If you trust him, bid five clubs. The key is to imagine how much worse your hand might be. Partner may hold A K 10 3, A 9 3 2, 3, A Q J 7.

Copyright © 2015, Tribune Media Services

About the Author:

Frank Stewart is one of the world's most prolific bridge journalists. He won many tournament events before devoting himself to writing. Frank has published hundreds of magazine and on-line articles. He has written 24 books, among them "Becoming an Expert," "Play Bridge With Me," "Who Has the Queen?" and most recently "Keys to Winning Bridge." In 2014, Frank Stewart received the International Bridge Press Association's Alan Truscott Award. He has been the senior analyst for ACBL-wide Charity and International Fund events since 1980. Frank and his wife, Charlotte, a pediatric speech pathologist, live in Fayette AL. They have a 17-year-old daughter.

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