The Aces on Bridge: Monday, April 23rd, 2012
The sober comfort, all the peace which springs
From the large aggregate of little things.
|East-West||♠ K J 2
♥ 6 2
♦ 10 9 7 5 4
♣ K J 5
♥ K Q J 10 8 7 5 3
♣ 9 8 7
♥ 9 4
♦ A K Q 8 6 2
♣ Q 10 3 2
|♠ A Q 10 9 8 7 4 3
♣ A 6 4
After you have been knocked out of the main event, will a Swiss Teams offer any consolation? Maybe yes, if the right deal comes along. Put yourself in East's seat, defending against six spades, which was played in last year's Yeh Brothers Cup.
When dummy comes down on partner’s lead of the diamond three, it would be easy to relax after winning the diamond ace and returning a low diamond.
Declarer ruffs high and starts to run six of his seven remaining trumps. Your partner, who began with hearts solid from the king down, discards one at every turn, while dummy discards diamonds, as do you.
In the six-card ending, you have kept two hearts, a diamond and three clubs to match dummy. On the penultimate trump, when dummy throws a club, what will you discard?
At the table Subhash Gupta’s opponent discarded a heart — and that was fatal. If you pitch a heart you leave partner controlling the hearts, so dummy’s second heart becomes a threat. Therefore when declarer cashes the heart ace and leads his last trump, West must keep one heart and thus come down to two clubs. Dummy pitches its last heart and you are squeezed between diamonds and clubs. If you had pitched a club earlier and kept your heart guard, your partner could have kept his clubs and pitched his hearts, leaving the suit to you. On the last trump, dummy must relinquish a guard in front of you, and you come under no further pressure.
There is a case that could be made for just about every lead. You could choose either red ace, hoping to find partner with a singleton in that suit, or go somewhat more passive with either black-suit lead. Of course, neither lead is exactly safe, so the question is whether a trump lead can accomplish anything except perhaps clear up a guess… I'd say no and would opt for a club instead.
LEAD WITH THE ACES
♥ A J 8 4 3
♦ A 9 4 3
♣ Q 10 3