Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.

Revelations, New Testament

S North
None ♠ K
 Q J 10 9 5 3
 6 3
♣ K 5 4 2
West East
♠ A 7 5 3 2
 8 7 5 4 2
♣ J 9
♠ Q 6 4
 7 6 2
 J 10 9
♣ A Q 10 7
♠ J 10 9 8
 A K 8
 A K Q
♣ 8 6 3
South West North East
1 NT Pass 4 Pass
4 All pass    


When partner opens a strong no-trump, North should drive to game in hearts. Many partnerships use Texas Transfers, so that they can transfer at the four level to play, or to use Blackwood, or even in some case to show voids by bidding a new suit. Meanwhile, the two-level transfer lets you subsequently jump to game as a mild slam try, with a jump to four no-trump in this sequence being natural and quantitative.

Against four hearts a spade lead would give the defenders the upper hand, but West has no reason not to lead a diamond. South still has his work cut out for him though, even after this start. Take a minute to form a plan.

It looks natural to dispose of dummy’s losing spade, but declarer still has to make sure he holds his club losers to three. If he leads clubs, the opponents will return trumps at every turn. This will prevent South from ruffing a club in dummy, and he will lose all four clubs.

The solution is to set up dummy’s spades, since this can be done in such a way as to shut West out. So at trick four, declarer runs the spade jack to East, pitching a club from dummy. He wins the heart return in hand, and advances the spade 10 to pitch another club. When it holds, he tries the spade nine, and West covers. So South ruffs high in dummy, and now draws trump ending in hand to discard another club on the spade eight. He can then lead to the club king to try for the overtrick.

Without the double, you would have responded one spade, of course, in an attempt to improve the contract. But when the opponents double, it is less certain that it is your hand, and there is clearly less reason to bid, since West is about to take you off the hook. I would pass now, both to slow partner down if he has a good hand and in the hope of getting a chance to back in later, if appropriate.


♠ A 7 5 3 2
 8 7 5 4 2
♣ J 9
South West North East
  Pass 1 Dbl.

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Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact