Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, March 27, 2009



Vul: None

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

Opening Lead: 9

“Every great mistake has a halfway moment, a split second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied.”

— Pearl S. Buck

In today’s deal, it did not hurt that West could not see through the backs of the cards, but declarer did earn his good result.

Against four spades doubled, West led the heart nine, to the five, jack and 10, then discarded a small club on the heart-ace continuation. South correctly ruffed the heart king with the trump 10. West did well not to overruff, discarding a second club.

Now declarer needed trumps to break, and he decided that East was likely to hold the spade jack because West might have overruffed with that card. While the diamond finesse was likely to work, there was a real risk of a 4-1 split. Trying to avoid letting the defenders get a cheap ruff, he cashed the spade ace. When both defenders followed, he advanced the diamond queen, hoping for the reflex cover by West, and got it. Then a trump to the jack, queen and king left West on lead.

That player innocently exited with the club 10 (a diamond would have been more testing), and declarer captured this with the king as East followed with his five. The club ace drew the jack from East, and now declarer tried to count out the hand. East’s original shape was now known to be either 2-7-2-2 or 2-7-1-3, and declarer inferred that the play in clubs suggested he had the queen-jack.

Accordingly, diamonds were 4-1, so South boldly led a low diamond to dummy’s seven and claimed the rest when East showed out.

ANSWER: You would normally raise to two spades here, but consider that your entire hand is in the opponents’ suits, and you do not want partner to lead a spade from a broken suit if West becomes declarer. I would have bid two spades if I thought this might be our hand or if I had a spade honor, but here a discrete pass seems best.


South Holds:

9 6 5
Q 7 5
A J 10 7
7 4 2
South West North East
1 1 2

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.