March 13, 2018 – The Mercury News

Tribune Content Agency

“I know that old advice about having patience,” Unlucky Louie told me in the club lounge. “‘Things may get worse before they get better.’ But whoever said that was assuming things have to get better.”

Louie ascribes his bad results to bad luck, despite all the evidence. Declaring at today’s five hearts, Louie ruffed the first spade and drew trumps with the A-K. He took the ace of clubs and led a second club … and East discarded.

That was bad, but when Louie took his king and led a diamond to dummy’s jack, things got worse. East took the queen and ace, and West got the queen of clubs. Down one.


Good and bad luck will even out, but bad play won’t. After Louie ruffs the first spade and draws trumps, he ruffs dummy’s last spade, takes the king of clubs and leads to dummy’s ten.

When East discards, Louie has 11 tricks, but he would be safe even if East had the queen. East would have to lead a spade, yielding a fatal ruff-sluff, or give dummy a diamond trick.


You hold: S K Q 9 7 5 H 8 3 D 10 8 5 C Q 8 6. Your side is vulnerable. The dealer, at your left, opens three diamonds. Your partner doubles, and the next player passes. What do you say?

ANSWER: Your partner’s double is for takeout, though you might pass it occasionally with diamond length and strength. He should have a hand worth at least 17 points. Jump to four spades. You have a strong five-card suit and a side queen that should be useful.

West dealer

Neither side vulnerable


S J 3

H K 9 4

D K J 7 2

C A 10 9 3


S K Q 9 7 5

H 8 3

D 10 8 5

C Q 8 6


S A 10 8 6 4 2

H 7 6

D A Q 9 3

C 5


S None

H A Q J 10 5 2

D 6 4

C K J 7 4 2

West North East South

Pass Pass 1 S 2 H

2 S 4 H 4 S 5 H

All Pass

Opening lead — S K

(C)2018 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

BC-stewart-bridge 03/13 TCA

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