Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Nothing succeeds like success.

Alexandre Dumas

N North
None ♠ A 10 6
 A 4
 K 10 9 7
♣ A 10 7 6
West East
♠ J 9 8 3 2
 K 7 2
 6 4 3 2
♣ 9
♠ —
 Q J 10 9 8
 A Q 8 5
♣ Q 8 5
♠ K Q 7 5 4
 5 3
♣ K J 4 3 2
South West North East
    1 NT 2
2 NT* 3 Pass Pass
3 ♠ Pass 4 ♠ Pass
Pass Dbl. All pass  



Going into the last stanza of 16 boards in the play-off match in the 1997 women’s international trials the Wei-Sender team led narrowly, but a good card by both pairs made the final margin seem more comfortable than it really was. Kerri Sanborn proved herself up to the task of bringing home a tricky game here.

In the open room, four spades was bid after East-West had bid up to four hearts. It was not doubled, and went two down. However when Sanborn was declarer after North had opened a 14-16 no-trump, East had shown hearts and a minor, and the West doubled the final contract.

The heart two was led to the ace, and Sanborn carefully played a spade to hand, getting the bad news. Now life might look straightforward if you can find the club queen, but that is not so. Sanborn continued with a spade to the 10, then cashed the spade ace and now had to work out the club position. East’s failure to raise to four hearts implied that she did not have 6-5 distribution, so she seemed likely to hold three clubs. Sanborn played an immediate club to the jack, and when it held, she could take the spade king and crucially discard a blocking club from dummy. Now she was one step ahead of the defense, which could take only its spade, heart and diamond tricks.

Notice that if declarer plays ace and a second club at an early point in the hand, West can obtain two ruffs, to beat the contract.

I’m as capable of overbidding as the next man, or woman, but I would pass two diamonds now and hope that it made, rather than look for a game. Since my partner would typically raise with three spades and an unbalanced hand, and would surely have bid clubs at his second turn with four, we have no good fit, no aces, and thus remarkably few prospects.


♠ K Q 7 5 4
 5 3
♣ K J 4 3 2
South West North East
  Pass 1 Pass
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