Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, February 11th, 2017

Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never.

Winston Churchill


S North
E-W ♠ Q 5 4
 Q 9 6 4
 K 10 7 3
♣ Q 6
West East
♠ 7 3 2
 K 10 3
 Q 8 5 2
♣ K 9 7
♠ 9
 A J 5 2
 J 9
♣ A J 10 8 4 3
South
♠ A K J 10 8 6
 8 7
 A 6 4
♣ 5 2
South West North East
1 ♠ Pass 2 ♠ 3 ♣
3 ♠ All pass    

♣7

When South competes to three spades because of his sixth trump, West might consider bidding four clubs. But it looks normal to pass and lead the club seven to East’s ten.

East now cashes the club ace and plays a trump, and South needs to establish a heart trick in order to find a home for his slow diamond loser; is this a case of bricks without straw? Not quite.

Declarer’s heart spots offer him some slim chances. South wins the trump switch and leads the heart eight, and West takes his king and shifts to the diamond two. South wins in hand, cashes a second top spade, then runs the heart seven round to East’s jack.

Now East exits with the diamond jack, won in dummy, and South has to work out what is happening in hearts. To do so, he must guess what is going on in diamonds. East would surely have shifted to a diamond at trick three from Q-J-9. Given that, the fall of the spotcards might suggest East began with only a doubleton diamond, to go with six clubs and one spade. Thus West has only one heart left – and it won’t be the ace. Declarer must lead the heart queen from dummy and run it, discarding his diamond loser, when East ducks stoically.

At double dummy, East can do better by putting his partner in at trick two with a club for the diamond shift. Now the defense are ahead in the race to establish their extra red-suit winner.



After making a constructive raise initially, you may feel like you have nothing in hand for the auction. But my view is that you are happy to double the opponents in either red suit. And if partner wants to double a club contract, you can encourage him to do so, by redoubling. That puts the onus on your partner to take further action, if appropriate.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ Q 5 4
 Q 9 6 4
 K 10 7 3
♣ Q 6
South West North East
  Pass 1 ♠ Pass
2 ♠ Pass Pass Dbl.
?      

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact theLoneWolff@bridgeblogging.com. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact reprints@unitedmedia.com.


3 Comments

jim2February 25th, 2017 at 2:58 pm

What if West covers the 8H with the 10H?

Bobby WolffFebruary 25th, 2017 at 3:21 pm

Hi Jim2,

Then, declarer will still be able to rise with the queen and then manipulate the intermediate heart spots to develop the contract fulfilling trick.

It takes a guess in the end by declarer as to the beginning layout of the heart suit, but the logic of the play suggests the actual holding.

BTW, in order to be a winning matchpoint player, a knowledge of how normal competitive club players usually defend, matters more than very high-level technical play, which realistically seldom is a factor.

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