Slender Inferences
“The man doesn’t have a chip on his shoulder,” Rose told me, “he has a whole lumberyard.”
She was talking about Grapefruit, my club’s sourpuss member. He makes his partners miserable.
Grapefruit was today’s North. Against four spades, West led a high club. South won with the ace and took the A-Q of trumps and ♣Q. He drew the last trump and cashed the ♣K J.

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

Opening lead — ♣9


South next led a heart, and West played low. South huddled and played … dummy’s jack. He went down one, and Grapefruit announced that South couldn’t catch a catfish in a coffee cup.

“I had a guess,” South growled. Grapefruit told the kibitzers that if South ever had a bright idea, it would be beginner’s luck.

Experts often rely on slender inferences. On the auction, West would often have led hearts, the unbid suit. If he had the queen, he would be likely to do so; with the ace, less likely. If South were willing to rely on that, he would have played the king from dummy.

Daily Question

You hold:
♠ K 10 9 8 4
6 5
9 4
♣ K J 5 3
Your partner opens 1, you bid 1♠ and he raises to 3♠. The opponents pass. What do you say?

Your partner has a hand worth about 17 points in support of spades with unbalanced or semibalanced pattern. He may have a singleton club, reducing the value of your club honors, but your fifth spade makes your hand worth going to game. Partner may hold:
♠ A Q 6 5
8 7
A K 8 7 6
♣ Q 2

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