Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, November 1st, 2019

Life’s short span forbids us to enter on far-reaching hopes.


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


The successful declarer always looks for a way to augment his chances. In today’s deal, South found himself at the helm in four hearts after North set up a game force at his first turn. South showed his major-suit pattern without promising extras, then each player looked to extract support from their partner for their long suit. South won the day when North fessed up to a doubleton heart honor.

Having to choose between the pointed suits on lead, West opted for the unbid one and put a low diamond on the table. Declarer could see a spade and two trump losers on the likely 3-2 split; but if he could ruff one spade in dummy, that would give him two spade tricks, three minor-suit winners, one ruff and four trump tricks, for 10 in all.

However, South was not prepared to settle for that: He sought to find a way home even if hearts split 4-1. Aiming to set up dummy’s clubs, declarer won the diamond in hand and ruffed a spade at trick three, then followed with a low club, which he ruffed small. He returned to the heart ace and ruffed another low club in hand, then gave up a trump, East showing out. West could draw two more rounds of trumps, but dummy discarded the losing diamond; when clubs broke, South had the rest. The extra chance of an even club split had paid dividends.

Note declarer’s good technique in keeping the club ace in dummy. This way, he did not risk conceding an over-ruff or trump promotion if clubs were 4-2 and trumps 3-2.

Bid two spades if you dare. With a singleton in hearts, the quality of your spades is not paramount. The jump tells partner what you have and may allow you to sacrifice or even win the auction. You will cramp the auction and make it difficult for East-West to find their best spot. I would bid one spade at unfavorable vulnerability, though, where I consider jumps to be at worst a maximum weak two-bid.


♠ Q 9 8 7 5 3
 Q 10 4
♣ K 9 2
South West North East

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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