I asked players at my club what phrase best captured the Christmas spirit. Unlucky Louie chose “Peace on Earth.” Rose cited “Good will toward men.” And Cy the Cynic lived up to his name by suggesting “Batteries not included.”

Cy trusts nobody, whatever the season. As today’s West he led the jack of clubs against four spades. (South’s 2NT showed about 11 points, balanced.) South won in dummy and led the queen of trumps, and East took the king and led the nine of hearts.


The Cynic took his ace and returned a heart. South won, lost a trump to the ace and took the rest. Making four.

“Don’t you trust anyone?” East sighed.

The bidding (and East’s defense) marked East with A-K-x in trumps. But if he had a singleton heart, South would have four and would have responded one heart. Cy should duck the first heart. When East takes the ace of trumps, he leads his last heart and gets a ruff.

All my club members and I wish for my readers a holiday season of peace and joy.


You hold: S 9 8 6 4 H J 7 3 D A K 4 C K 7 6. Your partner opens one diamond, you respond one spade and he bids two clubs. What do you say?

ANSWER: You have enough strength to invite game but not to force. A jump to three diamonds would be fine if your partner would treat it as invitational. If three diamonds would be forcing — some expert partnerships treat it that way — or if you’re not sure, underbid with two diamonds or try 2NT.

North dealer

N-S vulnerable


S Q J 10 5

H K Q 5

D 10 8

C A Q 5 2


S 3 2

H A 10 8 4 2

D 7 5 3

C J 10 9


S A K 7

H 9 6

D Q J 9 6 2

C 8 4 3


S 9 8 6 4

H J 7 3

D A K 4

C K 7 6

North East South West
1 C Pass 1 S Pass
2 S Pass 2 NT Pass
4 S All Pass
Opening lead — C J

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