I sat down to watch a Chicago game and found Cy the Cynic, a shameless chauvinist, and Wendy, my club's feminist, arguing heartily about whether Santa Claus was a man or a woman.

"A woman would never wear the same outfit year after year," Cy was saying.

"A man wouldn't wear a red velvet suit anytime," Wendy sniffed. "He couldn't pack a bag and would ignore his mail."

"If Santa were a woman," the Cynic roared, "Christmas would be late arriving every year."

"Furthermore," Wendy said, "handling Christmas would require a commitment."

"Deal the cards and I'll show you commitment," Cy growled.

As South, Cy opened one spade, and Wendy, West, overcalled two hearts. East might have sacrificed (immediately) at five hearts but instead allowed Cy to play at four spades.

Wendy cashed a heart and shifted to a trump, and the Cynic drew trumps and led a diamond from dummy. If he took the ace and led a low diamond, Wendy could win and lead a club, and the defense would get a club and another diamond.

Instead, Cy made Wendy commit herself by playing the jack on the first diamond. Wendy won, but if she continued diamonds, Cy would win and lead a third diamond, setting up dummy's diamonds for a club discard. If instead Wendy shifted to a club, Cy would take East's king and return a club, setting up a club trick in dummy for a diamond discard.

So Cy was plus 620. The matter of Santa's gender remained unresolved.