Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, August 12th, 2017

Things have their due measure; there are ultimately fixed limits, beyond which, or short of which, something must be wrong.

Horace


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

♠K

When South hears his partner cuebid two spades, initially a game try, he temporizes with three diamonds. After one more cuebid from South, North takes control with Blackwood, then bids five no-trump to indicate possession of all the key cards and trump queen, and eventually settles for the small slam.

After the lead of the spade king to the ace, declarer draws trump with the heart king and ace. Now before testing diamonds, he takes the club ace and king, and ruffs a club in hand. On this trick West discards a spade, suggesting he rates to hold at least three diamonds. So declarer cashes the diamond king, and leads a diamond to the 10. When East discards, South exits with a spade. West can win, but is faced with a choice of ways to surrender the 12th trick, either in the form of a ruff-and-discard or a diamond lead into the tenace.

If declarer had played the hand in more simple fashion, just exiting in spades after eliminating the trumps and clubs (as many people would), then he would have survived if West had taken the second spade. Then, if West led a diamond from the queen, the diamond loser would vanish, while if he gave a ruffand-discard, South could ditch one diamond and still be on the diamond guess.

However, the defense would prevail if East could win the spade exit and lead a diamond. West can simply cover South’s card and collect a diamond winner at the end, whatever declarer does.


Your partner has warned you not to bid on, suggesting some defense to spades. Yes, you have five hearts, but your defense is more than adequate, so you should pass – and lead a trump of course. On all these auctions, declarer’s best chance of scrambling tricks normally comes from a cross-ruff.

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ 8 5
 A 10 9 7 2
 K J 6 2
♣ A 4
South West North East
  Pass 1 1 ♠
2 ♠ 4 ♠ Dbl. 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.


6 Comments

A V Ramana RaoAugust 26th, 2017 at 11:21 am

Dear Mr Wolff
Just wondering what declarer would have done if west nonchalantly discarded seven of diamonds on third club and now if declarer plays a spade, west would win and exit in spades !( one dscard would not benefit south) surely south would cash dummy’s diamond A and finesse east for Q only to get wiser and sadder
Regards
AVRR

bobby wolffAugust 26th, 2017 at 4:18 pm

Hi AVRR,

Yes, West’s diamond discard on the third club, ruffed by declarer, is bold and could be misleading, except for the certain news that East started with 6 clubs and 2 hearts, not leaving too much room in East’s hand for diamond length.

However, West could be quite long in spades, allowing his partner to hold the queen of diamonds, even doubleton, but psychology enters the room and declarer must ask himself, “Why is West discarding a diamond (everyone knowing that is the key suit) when he would have such an easy spade discard”.

Bridge deception, especially at high levels, has a touch of double cross but also double, double cross, making the guessing game quite difficult to be sure.

However, yes, your cunning diamond discard might well work, but so would West keeping a low spade and allowing his partner to win the spade out card by declarer and then lead a diamond and by not parting with the queen (depending on what declarer plays), still be able to take the setting trick.

Thanks for your deceptive tip.

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