Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, March 31, 2009



Vul: N/S

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

Opening Lead: 2

“It is normal to give away a little of one’s life in order not to lose it all.”

— Albert Camus

Today’s deal is from Eddie Kantar’s “Take Your Tricks,” a series of helpful tips supported by deals that show you how to implement the advice he has given you.

Before you read today’s tip, consider the contract of four spades on a trump lead. Then read Kantar’s advice to see if you spotted declarer’s potential problem.

Kantar says, paraphrasing Gertrude Stein: a finesse is a finesse is a finesse, but not when there is a shortage of entries. With three red-suit losers staring at you, you must work with those clubs. Don’t finesse! If the finesse loses and a trump is returned, the clubs are blocked with no way to untangle them. You will be left with a club loser and three inevitable red-suit losers, while dummy’s club winner withers on the vine.

Once you see the problem, your urge to finesse will vanish. Simply play the club ace and a second club at once, unblocking the clubs and establishing your 10th trick in clubs with the spade king as your entry.

If the club finesse is right and the clubs are 6-2, so that the defenders ruff away your second club winner, then please ask for a refund … but do not hold your breath!

(Incidentally, on an initial heart lead, win and lead a LOW club from hand. When you win the return, unblock the clubs and cash both spades; then try to take the third club winner.

ANSWER: It may be tempting to bid no-trump, but this is not the time. First raise diamonds — your hand may actually be very suitable for play in that suit, especially facing short hearts. As the auction progresses, you will have a better feel about whether to play in no-trump.


South Holds:

8 7 6 5 2
7 6 4
Q J 10
South West North East
1 Pass
1 Pass 2 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.