May 12, 2022 – The Mercury News

“Did you hear about the semicolon that was arrested and convicted of robbery?” my friend the English professor asked me.

“I haven’t.”

“They gave him two consecutive sentences,” the prof chortled.

The prof showed me today’s deal. He played at four spades, and West led the ten of hearts: queen, king, ace.

“I led a trump to dummy,” the prof told me, “and returned the singleton diamond. East grabbed his ace and led the nine of hearts to dummy’s jack. I got to my hand with a trump and led the queen of diamonds: king, ruff.”


“I got back with a trump,” the prof went on, “and threw dummy’s last heart on my jack of diamonds. I lost two clubs but made game.”

East committed a felony. On the first diamond, he must play “second hand low” as per the time-honored rule. The defense needs a heart trick as well as a diamond and two clubs. If South’s diamonds are Kxx, he is sure to set up a heart discard. But by playing low, East may prevail if South has KJx or QJx.


You hold: S 6 HK 9 8 7 2 DA 9 8 5 CAQ 7. Your partner opens one spade, you bid two hearts, he rebids two spades and you try three diamonds. Partner then bids three hearts. What do you say?

ANSWER: You can’t count on partner for good heart support. Since your two-heart response promised a five-card or longer suit, he often would have raised directly to three hearts with three-card support. Bid 3NT. You may not make it, but to stay out of game would be speculative.

South dealer

Both sides vulnerable


SQ 9 8 5 2


D 3

CKJ 8 4


S 7 3

H 10 5

DK 10 7 4 2

C 10 6 5 2


S 6

HK 9 8 7 2

DA 9 8 5



SAKJ 10 4

HA 6 3


C 9 3

South West North East
1 S Pass 4 S All Pass

Opening lead — H 10

(C)2022 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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