Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, March 13th, 2017

It has long been an axiom of mine that little things are infinitely important.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


W North
Both ♠ K 3
 9 2
 A 8 7 2
♣ Q J 9 5 4
West East
♠ J 10 2
 3
 K 10 9
♣ A K 10 6 3 2
♠ 9 8 7 4
 A J 10 4
 Q J 5
♣ 8 7
South
♠ A Q 6 5
 K Q 8 7 6 5
 6 4 3
♣ —
South West North East
  1 ♣ Pass 1
2 Pass 4 Dbl.
All pass      

♣K

Since the Spring NABC are taking place this week in Kansas City, I shall be writing up some of the best hands from last year’s tournament in Reno.

In today’s deal, from the second qualifying session of the Kay Platinum Pairs, David Grainger demonstrated some neat declarer-play skills. He could overcall two hearts to show six hearts and a decent hand, after which North took a slightly pushy call to drive to game (a simple raise or cuebid raise might have been enough).

The defenders would have prevailed had they led and continued trumps, but West can hardly be criticized for kicking off with a top club. Grainger ruffed this, and read the clubs as being 6-2.

He decided that his best chance would be to find East with four cards in each major. So at trick two he crossed to the spade king, ruffed a second club, then played ace, queen, and another spade, overruffing West’s three with dummy’s nine.

Now Grainger ruffed a third club as East discarded a diamond (ruffing in with the jack or 10 would have let declarer pitch a diamond and take a trump finesse later). He next led a diamond to the ace and advanced a fourth club, to ensure he could take two more trump tricks, whatever East did.

Declarer came to 10 tricks: three spades, a ruff in dummy, five trumps in hand, and the diamond ace.


The form of scoring and vulnerability might affect your answer here. At pairs or teams one tends to make the obvious lead, from length of five cards or better, or from a four-card suit headed by an attractive sequence. At pairs the objective is not to blow a trick from a vulnerable four-card suit. Here I would lead a diamond not a heart – and my second choice would be the spade nine.

LEAD WITH THE ACES

♠ 9 8 4
 K 8 6 4
 J 10 6 3
♣ 8 7
South West North East
      1 NT
All pass      

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

Marion GebhardtMarch 28th, 2017 at 4:04 pm

Did I miss something? It seems routine to play 3 rounds of diamonds and end play East with the heart jack. East must then concede a club for the ninth trick.

bobby wolffMarch 28th, 2017 at 4:39 pm

Hi Marion,

Perhaps one of us did miss something.

Your description may not have applied to that particular above column hand, but if so, please elaborate.

However, thanks for writing and welcome to the site.

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