Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

“It isn’t the first-hand information that makes the best speech, but second-hand timing.

Hal Chadwick

S North
E-W ♠ A 9 4
 A 6
 A 6 5
♣ 10 7 6 4 2
West East
♠ J 2
 J 10 9 8 3
 K 9 8 4
♣ A 9
♠ Q 10 8
 Q 7 4
 J 10 2
♣ J 8 5 3
♠ K 7 6 5 3
 K 5 2
 Q 7 3
♣ K Q
South West North East
1 ♠ Pass 2 ♣ Pass
2 NT Pass 4 ♠ All pass


In today’s deal your two no-trump rebid suggests a balanced 12-14 and North wisely opts for the major-suit game, seeing the aces as more useful in a suit. Game is certainly easier to make in spades than in no-trump. You appear to need a trump break, and some decent luck along the way. In fact, though, you need very little to work for you, so long as you time the hand well, though you have to be careful to avoid the threat of over-ruffs in clubs.

The defenders lead the heart jack, and you win it with the ace. Next comes a club to the king and West’s ace – good news from your perspective, since now the threat of a trump promotion against you is considerably reduced. West can do no better than return a heart, which you win with the king. Now comes the club queen, followed by the spade king and a spade to the ace.

With the defenders now holding the master trump, you take a club ruff, and can deal with the 4-2 club break in your stride. You cross to dummy with a heart ruff, trump another club, to establish the suit, and cross to dummy for the last time by leading a diamond to the ace.

You can now advance your 13th club, discarding a diamond from hand, with nine tricks in the bag. The defenders can either allow you to take this trick, or they can ruff in and allow you to score the remaining trump later.

Your partner’s call is forcing, suggesting a limit raise or better in spades. You have just enough extras to be unwilling to sign off in two spades. I believe the options are to temporize with an ostensibly natural two hearts, or my choice, which would be to bid two no-trump, a natural call, showing some extras.


♠ K 7 6 5 3
 K 5 2
 Q 7 3
♣ K Q
South West North East
1 ♠ Pass 2 Pass

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Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2017. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact