Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, July 29th, 2019

Conscience has no more to do with gallantry than it has with politics.

Richard Sheridan

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


Just because South has a 19-count doesn’t mean his side can make game; he should open one spade rather than with a stronger call. If his partner passes, will his side really miss game? Additionally, no-trump may play better from North. In any event, when North raises spades, South can simply jump to game.

West leads the heart nine, and South expects to lose two hearts and one club. West’s opening lead is surely top of a short holding of some kind. South’s possession of the eight means West is unlikely to have three or more cards there.

When East wins the first two heart tricks and leads a third heart, South must decide whether to ruff with a high or low trump. Since West appears to be short in hearts, he is more likely than East to hold the spade jack. So South ruffs high.

He must next decide whether to draw trumps from the top or to finesse. Again, the odds make that decision relatively straightforward: After cashing the spade king and leading toward dummy’s Q-10, it must be right to finesse. At this point in the deal, for declarer to have a chance, East must have started with two spades and West three — so the jack is more likely to be with the length than the shortage. After finessing the 10, then drawing the last trump, South can lead a club toward his king. If it holds, he can play for an overtrick; if it loses, he will pitch his club loser on dummy’s heart winner.

The choice here seems to me to be between leading a club in the hope that you can establish a long card, and leading a heart in the hope that partner has four decent hearts. Since neither spades nor diamonds seem to be lying well for declarer, maybe a club lead is best. With Q-J-6 in hearts, however, I’d lead from that suit.


♠ 8 5 4 2
 Q 7 6
 Q 9
♣ K 7 6 3
South West North East
  1 ♠ Pass 2
Pass 2 Pass 3 NT
All pass      

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Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


David WarheitAugust 12th, 2019 at 7:39 pm

“South can simply jump to game”. Or he can not so simply bid 3C and then pass North’s bid of 3NT which is, not surprisingly, a better contract.

bobbywolffAugust 13th, 2019 at 1:49 am

Hi David,

Yes 3NT, especially without a club lead, will hardly ever go down, making it the place to be.

However, one needs always to keep in mind that top-level bridge (and its judgment) is what all winning players are trying to develop.

No one will always guess right and although expected, a partnership should understand that results will sometimes turn sour, but carelessness should stay as far away as possible.