Bridge by Frank Stewart

Posted: October 14, 2012

"Is that Minnie's sister?" Cy the Cynic asked me before a club duplicate.

"Lotta's here visiting."

"I'm doomed," Cy said gloomily. "She plays like Minnie, only more so."

Minnie Bottoms wears old bifocals that make her mix up kings and jacks, often to her opponents' chagrin. Cy has been Minnie's chief victim.

Cy became declarer at 3NT against the sisters. Lotta Bottoms, East, played the queen on the first club, and Cy took his king and wanted at least eight more tricks. Reluctant to play for a lucky lie in both red suits, he cashed the ace of diamonds - and Minnie played the king!

"Here we go again," Cy growled, but then he perked up. He could lead a heart to dummy's queen. If the finesse won, Cy would let the ten of diamonds ride. He might make two overtricks, and even if Minnie produced the jack, no return - not even the king of hearts - would beat 3NT. If instead East took the king of hearts and led a spade, Cy would win and lead the queen and another diamond.

So Cy finessed with the queen of hearts - and Lotta played the six!

The Cynic next led the ten of diamonds, and Minnie took the jack and led a heart. Cy played low from dummy confidently - and was stunned when Lotta took the king. After being convinced that the trick was hers, she led another heart, and dummy's entry to the diamonds vanished. Down Cy went.

"Why didn't you capture the queen of hearts?" Cy asked pitifully.

"With what?" East snapped over her spectacles.

"I give up," moaned Cy.

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