Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, April 2, 2009



Vul: Both

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

Opening Lead: K

“And nothing brings me all things.”

— William Shakespeare

Creating trump tricks from thin air is an art form, and there were a number of artists at work on today’s hand from the 2001 World Championships.

Generally, South became declarer in four hearts after opening with one no-trump and completing the transfer. However, four hearts is a poor contract — poorer still after the ace and king of clubs are cashed. For trumps to play for one loser, either the heart J-10 must be doubleton, or one hand must hold the ace plus just one other heart, with declarer having to guess well.

At some tables, after West cashed the two top clubs and continued with a third, declarer won with the club jack and played a low heart toward the king, which held, gathering the 10 from East. A low heart from the table brought the jack, and after South’s queen lost to the ace, the nine was established: contract made.

Other declarers thought that West’s having the top clubs made it more likely that East had the heart ace. They crossed to dummy to lead a trump to their queen. If West takes this, declarer has little option but to play the king when back on lead, with gratifying results.

However, see what transpired when West smoothly ducked the heart queen. Seemingly, the only reasonable shot left for South was to play East for A-10 bare, continuing with a low heart from both hands. East now made the jack, with the heart ace still to come; down one.

ANSWER: Cue-bid two clubs, which sets up a force until a suit is agreed upon. If your partner responds in a major suit, raise to game. (You may not make it, but how will you know till you try?) If partner responds two diamonds, bid two hearts and take it from there. You may be able to stop in three of a major, facing a minimum hand.


South Holds:

K 10 9 8
K 6 5 4 3
Q 8 6 5
South West North East
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.