“I own the world’s worst thesaurus: It’s not only terrible, it’s terrible.” — graffiti

I can think of adjectives to describe declarer’s play in today’s deal, none complimentary. Against four spades, West led the ten of diamonds, and South took the ace and cashed the K-A of trumps, as East-West followed. He next let the queen of clubs ride, and the finesse won.

“You’re playing like a house afire,” East remarked to declarer.


South next led a club to his ace and a third trump. East won and shifted to the three of hearts; deuce, king, ace. When dummy led the jack of clubs next, East covered, and South had to lose a diamond and two hearts. Down one.

A thesaurus is not a huge, prehistoric beast, and South’s play was not capable/competent/clever. After South takes the high trumps, he must lead the ace and nine of clubs. When East wins and shifts to hearts, South takes the ace and discards two hearts on the high clubs. He loses one diamond, one trump and one club.


You hold: S K 8 7 6 4 2 H 7 6 2 D A 5 C A 9. Your partner opens one heart, you respond one spade and he bids two diamonds. What do you say?

ANSWER: To commit this hand to game would be questionable. If your partner has a red two-suiter, your king of spades may be a useless card, and your support for his hearts is shaky. Bid three hearts, which partner should treat as invitational. If you held A87642,J62,Q5,A9, to bid four hearts would be reasonable.

North dealer

N-S vulnerable


S A 5

H A J 4

D J 7 4 2

C Q J 10 8


S J 9

H K 9 5

D Q 10 9 6

C 6 5 3 2


S Q 10 3

H Q 10 8 3

D K 8 3

C K 7 4


S K 8 7 6 4 2

H 7 6 2

D A 5

C A 9

North East South West
1 C Pass 1 S Pass
1 NT Pass 4 S All Pass
Opening lead — D 10

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