Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

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

You learn so much from taking chances, whether they work out or not. Either way, you can grow from the experience and become stronger and smarter.

John Legend


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

10

In today’s deal, you have two chances to bring home your game. One of them is obvious and easy to quantify; the other is less easy to spot. See if you can take full advantage of your opportunities.

Against three no-trump, West leads the heart 10, and you take the first trick in hand. Your first and best chance is in diamonds. You cash the diamond ace and king, hoping the queen will drop, in which case life will be very straightforward. But there is no good news today, as West discards a heart. Can you see how you might find a second chance to bring home the game?

Your only realistic chance is to find spades 3-3 with the king onside. But beware! If you cross to the club ace and finesse in spades, then play two further rounds of that suit, East might see he should win and shift to clubs; the defense would then prevail.

So the first play in spades must be low from hand. East’s best play is to win and shift to the club jack. You duck in hand and take the trick with dummy’s ace. Then you lead a spade to the queen, cash the spade ace and run spades. Eventually, you exit with the heart king.

At this point, the defenders have four top tricks, but when West wins his heart ace, he can do no better than exit in hearts and force you to concede the last two tricks twice over. Before that happens, you will have nine tricks in the bank.


If you learn only one thing today, remember that in almost all auctions where a hand that has already passed balances with a double, a response of two no-trump, as here, is not natural. This call asks partner to bid his better minor. The logic is that if you had a one-suiter, you would bid it; if you had a spade stack, you would defend two spades doubled. So this is a cry for help: “Get me out of here, please!”

BID WITH THE ACES

♠ K J 9
 5 2
 Q 10 8 6
♣ J 10 9 3
South West North East
Pass 1 ♠ Pass 2 ♠
Pass Pass 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.


2 Comments

jim2November 26th, 2017 at 3:03 am

If I played it that way, one of the following things would have been present:

1) East would have ducked the opening lead with A52,
2) East shifted to the JC holding also the KC, or
3) Diamonds 3-3.

Bobby WolffNovember 27th, 2017 at 8:45 pm

Hi Jim2,

1. No doubt with #1, but, of course if you or I were East and ducked the first heart, partner would have held the Q109x of hearts and South the king of clubs instead of the queen.

2. Of course, then declarer would have risen with the queen of clubs if he had it.

3. Diamonds being 3-3 would only be good for demanding a re deal and with a different deck.