Reliable Partners
“Don’t you prefer partners who are reliable?” Cy the Cynic asked me in the club lounge.
“It goes without saying,” I shrugged.
“Well, mine are,” Cy growled. “I can rely on them to let me down.”

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

Opening lead — Q
Cy showed me today’s deal from his penny game. He had been East.
“When my partner bid 5♣, vulnerable,” the Cynic told me, “I shuddered. I was relieved when North bid 5 instead of doubling.”
“Actually, your partner would probably be down only one at 5 doubled,” I remarked.
“Against 5, he led the Q,” Cy said. “Declarer thought it over and played low from dummy! My partner switched to the ♠J, but declarer took the ace and cashed the A K to discard his last two spades. He ruffed a spade and got to dummy with high trumps to ruff two more spades. Then he drew my last trump in dummy and threw a club on the good fifth spade. He lost one club but made the contract.”
“Declarer found an excellent ‘avoidance’ play,” I said. “Unless he discards spades on dummy’s high diamonds, you can win a spade trick and lead a club, and South will lose two clubs and go down.”
“It was all my partner’s fault,” the Cynic insisted. “If he shifts to a trump at the second trick, he takes out one of dummy’s entries prematurely, and declarer can’t set up and cash the fifth spade.”
“Your partner didn’t have a trump to lead,” I pointed out.
“That’s what I mean about being unreliable,” Cy said. “A good partner would have found one.”