March 10, 2023 – The Mercury News

“If he were any more self-absorbed, he’d be a paper towel.” — a baseball writer’s observation about a star player who seemed more concerned with his personal stats than winning games.

In today’s deal, South opened four hearts, a questionable action even after two passes; North might have held two aces. West led the ace and deuce of diamonds. South ruffed East’s ten and led the king of trumps.

West took his ace and led a spade, and when East won and led the king of diamonds, South had to absorb defeat. He ruffed with the queen of trumps and took the J-10, but West’s nine won the setting trick.


It takes focus to make this contract, but South must have been absorbed with his plans for dinner. After he ruffs the second diamond, he must take the ace of clubs, ruff a club in dummy and lead a third diamond to pitch his losing spade — a “scissors coup.”

This play stops the defenders from promoting a second trump trick for West. South loses only three tricks in all.


You hold: S A 8 5 4 3 H 2 D K J 10 C 10 9 5 3. Your partner opens one heart, you respond one spade and he rebids two hearts. The opponents pass. What do you say?

ANSWER: If your deuce of hearts were the queen, your hand would barely justify a bid of 2NT to try for game. Your actual hand is too weak to take any action. Partner’s rebid promises six or more hearts. If he had a five-card suit, he would have had a more descriptive second bid available.

North dealer

E-W vulnerable


S K J 9 7

H 4

D Q 9 8 7 5 4 3

C 8


S Q 10 6

H A 9 6 5

D A 2

C 7 6 4 2


S A 8 5 4 3

H 2

D K J 10

C 10 9 5 3


S 2

H K Q J 10 8 7 3

D 6


North East South West
Pass Pass 4 H All Pass
Opening lead — D A

©2023 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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