“Let me ask you a theoretical question,” Wendy, my club’s resident feminist, said to me in the lounge.

“Does it concern bidding theory?” I asked.

“It concerns man-woman theory,” Wendy growled. “If a man is spouting off in a remote area of a forest and no woman is around to hear him, is he still wrong?”

“So you and Cy are still at it,” I sighed. Cy the Cynic, a shameless chauvinist, and Wendy are always arguing.

“We were partners in a penny game,” Wendy said, showing me today’s deal. “I opened one club as North and raised Cy’s one-heart response to two. He jumped to 3NT, which was fine by me. West led a low spade, and the Cynic won with the queen.

“Cy next led a club to dummy,” Wendy went on, “and let the nine of hearts ride. West took the queen and led the king of spades, and Cy played low and won the third spade. He had only eight tricks, and when he led another heart, West won and cashed two more spades for down one.

“That performance was bad enough, but then the Cynic insisted that the contract was unmakeable and chastised me for opening the bidding on my 12-point hand. The man is a fruitcake.”

I avoid getting involved in the Cy vs. Wendy saga, but I sympathized with Wendy here. After Cy wins the first spade, he loss nothing. The third club fixes West. To discard the queen of hearts is clearly fatal. If West discards a spade, he can get only two spade tricks plus his A-Q of hearts. If West discards a diamond, Cy can set up a third diamond trick in dummy.

North dealer

E-W vulnerable


S 8 3

H J 9 8

D A K 7 5

C K J 8 6


S K J 6 5 2


D Q 10 6 2

C 7 3


S 10 9 4

H 7 5 4 2

D J 9 3

C 5 4 2


S A Q 7

H K 10 6 3

D 8 4

C A Q 10 9

North East South West
1 C Pass 1 H Pass
2 H Pass 3 NT All Pass
Opening lead — S 5

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