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Cy the Cynic was parked at a table in a corner of the club lounge and didn’t look as if he wanted company.

“Minnie got him with another ‘spectacular’ play,” Ed told me. “He’s probably hatching a plot to destroy those glasses of hers.”

Minnie Bottoms wears an old pair of bifocals that make her mix up kings and jacks, often to her opponents’ dismay. Cy has been Minnie’s chief victim.

In a team match, Cy played at six spades. He took the ace of hearts, drew trumps and cashed the A-K of diamonds. Down he went when East discarded.

“Minnie was declarer at the other table,” Ed said. “The play began the same way, but Minnie attacked the diamonds by leading the ace and then … the jack! When West took the queen, he was stuck. No matter what he led next, Minnie could take 12 tricks.”

Spectacles or not, Minnie’s play was correct, which was probably why Cy was morose. Her play might cost an overtrick if diamonds broke 3-2 but might save the day if they broke 4-1.

You hold: ´ 2 ™ J 10 9 3 © Q 10 8 4 ® K J 5 3. The dealer, at your left, opens one spade. Your partner doubles, and the next player bids two spades. What do you say?

A: You have the values to compete and may be shut out if you don’t. Since partner’s double suggests support for the other major, bid three hearts. Some might try a “responsive double,” asking partner to pick a suit. Use conventional gadgets only after prior discussion.

South dealer

N-S vulnerable

NORTH

´ 6 4 3

™ K Q 5

© 9 7 6 3

® Q 10 9

WEST EAST

´ 2 ´ 10 9 5

™ J 10 9 3 ™ 8 7 6 4 2

© Q 10 8 4 © 2

® K J 5 3 ® 8 7 6 4

SOUTH

´ A K Q J 8 7

™ A

© A K J 5

® A 2

South West North East

2 ® Pass 2 NT Pass

3 ´ Pass 4 ´ Pass

6 ´ All Pass

Opening lead – ™ J