Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, March 26, 2009



Vul: None

8 7 6
A J 3 2
8 7 6 4 3
West East
K 3 2 5 4
10 9 Q 8 7 6 5
K J 7 6 Q 10 9 5
A 10 9 2 K Q
A Q J 10 9
K 4
A 8 3 2
J 5
South West North East
1 Pass 2 Pass
4 All Pass

Opening Lead: 10

“Too early seen unknown, and known too late!”

— William Shakespeare

The record may sound stuck by now, but it is nonetheless true that you must plan your play of the hand at trick one. If you do not, it may well be too late by the time you stop to think.

To take just one example, when you are planning to ruff losers in dummy, ask yourself how many hand entries you need and make appropriate provisions.

In today’s deal, you have reached the giddy heights of four spades and West leads the heart 10. You plan to ruff three diamonds in dummy, eventually conceding two clubs and a spade. Win the opening lead in DUMMY, play to your diamond ace and ruff a diamond, return to the heart king, and ruff another diamond. Now for the key play. Ruff the heart jack with the spade ace and ruff your fourth diamond in dummy. This way you will lose two clubs and one spade, but have guaranteed your contract.

There are two easy mistakes you might make here. The first is to win the opening lead in your hand; if you do that, you can kiss your game goodbye.

The second pitfall is to fail to appreciate your trump spots when planning to take ruffs in one hand or both . If you have all the middle cards, as here, you may elect to ruff a loser with a high trump (here, the ace) to avoid the embarrassing overruff by West followed by the trump return that would reduce 10 tricks to nine.

ANSWER: This double is for takeout, suggesting both minors and a good hand. In context, you have an excellent hand for your initial pass. Maybe you are worth more than a jump to three clubs, but the bad trump spots should persuade you not to go past the three-level. A bid of two clubs would be an enormous underbid.


South Holds:

8 7 6
A J 3 2
8 7 6 4 3
South West North East
Pass 1 1
Pass 1 Dbl. 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.