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“I wish you weren’t so cynical,” I told Cy the Cynic at the club. “You couldn’t find good in a dictionary.”

“No matter how cynical I get,” Cy shrugged, “it’s impossible to keep up.”

Cy’s attitude stems from deals like today’s. In a team match, Cy was declarer at four spades, and East took the ace of hearts and continued with the ace and a low diamond (not best).

“East had passed in third seat,” Cy told me, “so I knew West had both black kings. I took the ace of trumps and my winners in hearts and diamonds. Then I exited with a trump, and when West won, he had to lead a club from his king or concede a ruff-sluff.”

“Well done,” I said. “Surely your team gained points.”

“We gained nothing,” the Cynic said. “At the other table, the contract and lead were the same. When East, my teammate, won the first trick, he shifted to a LOW diamond. Declarer won, took the K-Q of hearts to pitch dummy’s last diamond and easily made the game.”

Maybe you understand how Cy feels.

You hold: ´ 8 5 ™ A J 10 9 2 © A 9 6 2 ® J 5. Your partner opens one diamond, you bid one heart, he rebids two diamonds and you raise to three diamonds. Partner next bids four clubs. What do you say?

A: Your partner has made an effort to reach game but didn’t suggest 3NT. He seems to have six diamonds and four clubs. Since you have good diamond support, a side ace and a ruffing value, bid five diamonds. Partner may hold J 4, 3, K Q 10 8 7 4, A K 7 3.

West dealer

N-S vulnerable

NORTH

´ Q 7 6 3

™ 6 3

© J 7

® A 10 7 4 3

WEST EAST

´ K 2 ´ 8 5

™ 8 7 4 ™ A J 10 9 2

© 10 8 5 3 © A 9 6 2

® K 9 8 6 ® J 5

SOUTH

´ A J 10 9 4

™ K Q 5

© K Q 4

® Q 2

West North East South

Pass Pass Pass 1 ´

Pass 2 ´ Pass 3 ´

Pass 4 ´ All Pass

Opening lead – ™ 8