Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Vul: None

7 3
Q 2
A J 7 6 4 2
A K 3
West East
10 6 K Q J 9 4 2
10 8 6 5 4 3 A K J
Q 10 8 3 K 9
5 8 4
A 8 5
9 7
Q J 10 9 7 6 2


South West North East
Pass `Pass 2 2
3 Pass 4 Pass
5 All Pass

Opening Lead: 10

“And he that strives to touch the stars,
Oft stumbles at a straw”

— Edmund Spenser

This month I am running a few deals from Eddie Kantar’s latest book, “Take Your Tricks.” There are no less than 500 pieces of advice, each accompanied by an example of how to do better on defending or declaring.

Today’s advice is that the stronger the trump suit, the more careful you must be to conserve trump entries to the hand that you are establishing.

In today’s deal, you have bid to an optimistic five clubs. With two top hearts to lose, and a slow spade loser lurking, the only realistic hope is to set up the diamonds. If your opponents were playing the hand, they would find diamonds 3-3; but you do not get to be so lucky!

Assuming a normal 4-2 division, THREE diamonds must be ruffed in your hand. This requires three dummy entries outside the diamond ace. As Eddie says, if that club three doesn’t look like an entry to you, get a new pair of glasses.

So long as you ruff three diamonds HIGH, conserving your precious club two, you will be able to set up the diamonds eventually by leading the club two to dummy’s three. Your partner will love you, and the club two will be proud of you.

One more point: the defenders could set the hand, either by leading a heart and shifting to a trump, or by leading a trump immediately. That takes an entry out of dummy prematurely.

ANSWER: This is nominally an invitational sequence, and you should expect to be facing a hand of about 10 points with two or three diamonds. You have a little in reserve, and if your diamond spots were better, you might try for three no-trump. But facing a doubleton diamond, you cannot be confident of running the suit, so I would advocate passing here.


South Holds:

7 3
Q 2
A J 7 6 4 2
A K 3


South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
2 Pass 3 Pass


If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, feel free to leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2009.