On Reflection


Cy the Cynic’s former occupation, if he had one, is a mystery at my club. Cy won’t discuss it, except to favor us with gag answers to our queries:

Were you a librarian, Cy?”

“My references didn’t check out.”

“Were you a human cannonball?”

“I got hired and fired the same day.”

“Cy, did you inspect mirrors in a mirror factory?”

“No, but that’s a job I could see myself doing.”

Dlr: South ♠ 9 5 3
Vul: All 7 3
7 6 3
♣ A 10 6 5 2
♠Q 10 7 2 ♠ K 8 4
10 5 K  9 8 6 2
A 8 2 Q J 9 4
♣ J 9 8 3 ♣ 7
♠ A J 6
A Q J 4
K 10 5
♣ K Q 4
South West North East
1♣ Pass 2♣ Pass
3NT All Pass

Opening lead — ♠2

When Cy was today’s declarer, he could see himself making 3NT — if a few good things happened. He captured East’s ♠K and led the ♣K Q. If West had followed low, Cy could have taken three more clubs, discarding a heart and a diamond.

Cy could next finesse with the Q, cash the ace and exit with the ♠J. West could take three spades but would then have to concede the ninth trick to Cy’s K.

Alas, Cy was deflected by diabolical defense. When he took the ♣K Q, West followed with the three … and jack! Cy naturally assumed that West had no more clubs. Then Cy could safely overtake the queen with the ace to get an extra entry to dummy. He could finesse in hearts, run the clubs and finesse in hearts again. Then he would have nine tricks and wouldn’t need any end play.

So at Trick Three, Cy put on the ♣A — and the play ended similarly to Cy’s career in the trapdoor business: It bottomed out. Instead of five club tricks, Cy got three. He did win two heart finesses but had to resort to an end play to go down only one.

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