April 4, 2024 – The Mercury News

The player we know as “Secondhand Rose” was at my club today. When the lesson about “lack of second hand” in defense was given, Rose must have been out with Jiggs, the plumber.

As West, Rose led the jack of clubs against 3NT. Dummy played low and East encouraged with the ten. South won and led a heart to the dead, and Secondhand Rose… with the queen!

The South was stuck. If he dodged to maintain communication, Rose would lead his last club and East would lead the clubs. South was reluctant about the finesse in diamonds, so he put a spade back in his hand and tried a second heart to dummy’s ten. The East won and led another spike, and the South lost three points.


South could have done better, but it makes 3NT if Rose plays low on the first heart. The model plays ten. East wins and leads a spade, but South wins, leads hearts and has nine tricks.

If South had the Jack of Hearts, he was destined to succeed. If he had two weak hearts, as the auction suggested, Rose had to accommodate his queen.


You hold: SAK 5 3 H 3 2 DAKJ 5 3 CA 4. The dealer, to your right, opens a heart. You double and your partner responds (“advances”) with two clubs. What do you say?

ANSWER: Your partner may have nothing, and even if he has a few points, your playing chances are uncertain. (Four spades is an unlikely deal when partner has not announced a spade.) Offer two diamonds, promising a strong hand. If your partner has something, you will hear from them.

South Dealer

BORN. vulnerable


S 8 7 6

HAK 10 9 4

D 7 2

CQ8 3


LP 9 4

HQ 6 5

DQ9 8 6 4

JC 7


SJ10 2

HJ 8 7

Day 10

CK 10 9 6 5 2


SAK 5 3

H 3 2



South West North East
1D pass 1H pass
Pass 2 S Pass 3 H
3 NT All Pass
First track — CJ

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