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California NewsUSA

December 27, 2023 – The Mercury News

“When New Year’s Eve comes,” Unlucky Louie told me, “I raise my left leg at midnight.”

“For what?”

“To start the new year off right,” Louie said solemnly.

Let’s hope Louie does better in his penny game next year. When he declared today’s four of spades, he took the ace of clubs and let the ten of trumps rise. The East produced the king and returned a club. Louie won, led a trump to dummy and ruffed a club.

Louie then led a heart to dummy’s king, a disaster: East took the ace and queen and led a heart to West’s jack. Down one.

A CHANCE

Louie could stay there for a long year. He gave himself a chance for the contract when there were two. After Louie cuts the third club, he should play finesse with dummy’s queen of diamonds. He can discard a heart on the ace and lose only two hearts and a trump.

If East had the king of diamonds, Louie would get a second chance. He could throw a heart on the East diamond return, cut a diamond and attempt a heart to the king.

DAILY QUESTION

You hold: SK 6 HAQ 10 3 DJ 10 7 6 C 8 5 4. Your partner opens a club, the next player bids a spade and you double (negative). The partner offers two hearts. What do you say?

ANSWER: Your double showed enough strength to respond, with hearts (but not a hand suited to bidding two hearts) plus support of clubs or diamonds. The two hearts of the partner do not constitute an “inverse”. He “raised” the trial you promised. Pass. A three-core restart is possible.

North Dealer

BORN. vulnerable

NORTH

SAJ9

Hong Kong 5 4

DAQ5

C 7 6 3 2

WEST

S4

HJ 9 7

DK 9 8 3 2

CQJ 10 9

EAST

SK 6

HAQ 10 3

DJ 10 7 6

C 8 5 4

SOUTH

CAR 10 8 7 5 3 2

H 8 6 2

D4

CAK

North East South West
1 Pass C 1 Pass S
1 NT Pass 4 S All Pass
Opening track — CQ

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