In the club lounge, Unlucky Louie was grumbling about the cost of his health insurance.
“If you can’t afford it,” Cy the Cynic told him, “you can always rely on the placebo effect.”
“My doctor prescribed one of those,” Ed offered. “I paid his bill with Monopoly money.”
It’s a mystery why Louie won’t buy insurance as declarer. At today’s slam, he took the ace of spades and led a trump to his queen. West took his stiff king, and East also got a trump trick. Louie went down only one when the diamond finesse won.
Louie can try to play safe for one trump loser by taking the ace first, but if he has a diamond loser, he can’t afford the safety play. So Louie should lead a club to his ace at Trick Two and return a diamond to dummy’s jack. If East had the queen, Louie would need to find him with K-x in trumps.
When the finesse wins, Louie takes out insurance by leading a trump to his ace. If East-West played low, Louie would go back to dummy to lead a second trump.
You hold: S J 8 H A Q 9 4 3 2 D 7 6 2 C A 7. Your partner opens one spade, you bid two hearts and he rebids two spades. What do you say?
ANSWER: This problem is awkward. You have enough strength to invite game but not quite enough to force. An encouraging but not forcing rebid of three hearts would be the choice of many players. An option is to raise to three spades. Although your partner has not promised six cards in spades, he will often have six.