Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Friday, April 28th, 2017

Never walk away from failure. On the contrary, study it carefully and imaginatively for its hidden assets.

Michael Korda

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


With three four-card suits, North begins by bidding the suit under the singleton. This leaves him in good position for his next bid.

As expected, South responds in North’s singleton. North can now introduce his spades conveniently, over which South has a problem. He almost has enough to invite game because of his source of tricks, but with a known misfit, a call of one no-trump looks the prudent way to go. When North invites game (also a restrained action) South has plenty in hand for his acceptance.

After a top club lead, South must be careful not to duck, for fear of a spade shift, when the defenders might set that suit up. He must win; but in which hand? The answer is to win in dummy to protect South’s entries to the hearts. But the shortage of entries to the South hand means that the routine play in hearts will not succeed. South can set up hearts but won’t be able to reach them.

Instead, South can solve his problem by overtaking the heart king with his ace. He next leads the heart jack to force out the queen. East refuses this trick, and declarer continues with the heart 10.

East must take the heart queen, and can lead the spade 10. South is now in complete control, and can eventually return to his hand with the club ace to cash the last two hearts. He takes four hearts, one spade, and two tricks in each minor.

This hand is nowhere near as good as it looks. You should simply raise to two spades, a real game try if not in competition, and be quite content with that. Remember, partner occasionally has only three spades for this auction – and may well be quite weak.


♠ A 7 6 5
 A K 5 2
♣ K 8 7 3
South West North East
    Pass 1
Dbl. Pass 1 ♠ 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