Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, December 28th, 2017

The easiest way to be cheated is to believe yourself to be more cunning than others.

Pierre Charon

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


Today’s auction was straightforward enough, with North deciding not to beat around the bush with a cue-bid en route to what he thought was his side’s best contract. As you can see, three no-trump by North can be defeated on a club lead, but perhaps a less precipitate route would have left open the option to play that game if appropriate.

Be that as it may, West led a heart against four spades. Declarer saw two possible losers in clubs and one each in diamonds and spades. The bidding marked West with very little, but as long as he held either the diamond king or club ace, the contract seemed safe. Similarly, if East held the spade king, all would be well.

Problems would only materialize if West held the spade king and reasoned (as he surely would) that he should win and push a club through dummy’s tenace. Having worked all of this out, South realized he could take advantage of the fact that West couldn’t see East’s cards.

So declarer won the opening lead in hand and followed with the spade queen. Now consider West’s problem: It looked for all the world as if East had the trump ace, and based on the bidding, that card would surely be bare. So he played low, and the queen won. After playing off the spade ace, declarer followed up with a diamond finesse. East took his king and returned a heart. But now South could pitch his losing clubs on dummy’s diamonds. West could ruff the fourth with his master trump, but by now it was too late.

Partner is asking for more information with fourth suit forcing. Your choice is to rebid two diamonds, emphasizing your shape, or two no-trump to show the club stopper. Here, the diamonds are so strong you should rebid them, both because it is economical and because you can show the stopper later.


♠ 10 9 7 5
 K 4
 A Q 10 9 4
♣ K 4
South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
1 ♠ Pass 2 ♣ Pass

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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