Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, March 30, 2009



Vul: Both

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

Opening Lead: Q

“The good things of life are not to be had singly, but come to us with a mixture.”

— Charles Lamb

How do you plan to make 12 tricks in six spades after West leads the diamond queen?

If you had four entries to dummy, you would take the trump finesse at trick two and use the other entries to take as many finesses as necessary. However, because you only have two entries to dummy, you have to decide which major-suit finesse to take.

The difficulty that ensues when you take the trump finesse and it loses is that you will have only one entry to dummy left to take a heart finesse. This means you will lose a heart trick unless East has an unlikely singleton or doubleton heart king.

Let’s see what happens if, instead, you play a heart to the queen at trick two. When the queen holds (and a holdup is very unlikely here as West does not know who has the heart jack), you should plan to continue with the ace and queen of trumps. You will use the remaining diamond entry to dummy to repeat the heart finesse. If West takes the heart queen with the king and plays a second diamond to dummy’s king, you will lead a trump, hoping that East has a singleton or doubleton trump king.

In summary, each of the major-suit finesses is equally likely to succeed. However, if your first finesse loses, there is far more chance of picking up the trump suit with one finesse than of achieving the same result in hearts.

ANSWER: If it was a clear choice between a club and a heart, there would be fewer arguments in the world! Some will tell you always to lead a major against no-trump; but when the opponents pass out one no-trump, all you know is that dummy won’t have a long major. I believe a top club is less likely to cost a trick and more likely to set up our suit than a low heart. But it IS a close choice.


South Holds:

4 3
Q 7 4 3
A 7 4
J 10 8 5
South West North East
All 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.