Terms of engagement

Cy the Cynic is no fan of matrimony. He says it's no coincidence that "engagement" can mean either an intention to wed or an impending battle. Cy's least favorite holding is a K-Q doubleton. It reminds him of marriage and invariably presages disaster.

Cy was today's South — and paled when he saw his spades. At four hearts, he won the diamond opening lead and took the A-K of trumps. When West discarded, the Cynic tried the A-K of clubs. East's queen fell, but West won the next club with the jack and led another diamond. The defense got one trick in each suit.

DRAW TRUMPS?

"I had to try to draw trumps," Cy mumbled.

Cy brought it all on himself. He can take the king of trumps but should continue with three rounds of clubs. Say West wins and leads another diamond. Cy wins, goes to the ace of trumps and throws his last diamond on the high club, losing a trump, a spade and a club.

If declarer keeps an entry to dummy, he will always succeed when the contract is indeed makable.

DAILY QUESTION

You hold: S A J 9 4 3 H Q 10 9 D Q 8 5 C Q 5. Your partner opens one diamond, you respond one spade and he bids two clubs. What do you say?

ANSWER: You have options, depending in part on your partnership's agreements. If a jump-preference to three diamonds would be invitational, not forcing, that call would be reasonable. If three diamonds would be forcing, or if you're not sure, bid 2NT to invite game. Partner need not pass if his hand is shapely.

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