Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, August 4th, 2017

As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of the demand.

Josh Billings


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

*hearts

3

In the auction in today’s deal as South you break North’s transfer to hearts, to show four trumps and a non-minimum. Then over the four diamond cuebid you show your spade control, and jump to slam when his partner denies a club control. Rustic perhaps, but the final contract is a good one.

Against six hearts the defenders lead a trump. When dummy comes down it would be easy to relax, and to try to rely on taking the black suit finesses – which give you at least a 75 percent chance of coming home with 12 tricks. But you can do better. While there may be more than one line that succeeds here, the neatest play involves an elimination, which brings you in at close to a 100 percent chance of success.

You carefully rise with the ace, unblock the diamond honors, come to the heart king (preserving dummy’s five) then cash the diamond queen to pitch a club, and play ace and another club, ruffing high in dummy.

Now you lead the heart five to the six, ruff the last club in dummy, and have reduced to an ending where both the North and South hands have three spades and a trump. When you lead a spade to the 10 and queen, West must surrender. He can either lead a spade into the tenace or give you a ruff-sluff if he has a minor suit to exit with. Whatever he does, you have the rest.


The redouble on this sequence suggests playing in two clubs redoubled. Even though you have great controls, are you prepared to play a 4-2 (or possibly 3-2) fit? Since your partner might have opened one club with four and a decent suit – given that we know his diamonds are clearly weak. I’d just bid two hearts, I think, which is natural and forcing after using fourth suit.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 9 7 5
 A J 9 8 7 5
 A K
♣ 7 3
South West North East
    1 Pass
1 Pass 1 ♠ Pass
2 ♣ Dbl. Rdbl. 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

Bill CubleyAugust 18th, 2017 at 3:39 pm

Bobby,

I played it per the article using the 5 of hearts overtake by the six. I doubt I am getting better. It is possible. My play analysis was before reading you analysis. I also got the BWTA bid right. Thank you for a classic column.

Bobby WolffAugust 18th, 2017 at 4:06 pm

Hi Bill,
\
Thanks for your kind words and for chronicling your progress.

Better bridge is all about consistency of performance, fewer mistakes, and the right attitude for learning about new ways of both developing tricks as declarer, being a tougher opponent, and pressuring a good declarer while on defense. And never forget about counting, counting some more, and then counting continually.

AFAIK, the following of the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City is not made in a day, weeks or even months, but rather years and even then the intent is not to find Frank Morgan behind drapes, impersonating the wizard, which would represent only the pretension, rather than the reality, of riding the up elevator to success.

Good luck and keep in touch.

elijah logan longview texasAugust 22nd, 2017 at 11:11 pm

Great article.