Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Monday, May 22nd, 2017

The concessions of the weak are the concessions of fear.

Edmund Burke

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


When South opens two no-trump, North has no sensible call but to raise to three no-trump.

South covers the lead of the spade 10 with the jack, since if West has led from the ace-queen, it would be convenient to tackle clubs by leading the suit from the board. When East is able to beat the jack with the queen, South must win this, and now needs to bring in the clubs to make his game. If he loses a club trick, the opponents will surely run the spades and set him.

South must try to locate the club queen; but if he leads to the club ace and finesses through East, there will be no further entry to the long clubs, even if he has guessed correctly.

So South must play West for the club queen, but while this is necessary, it may not be sufficient. If South leads out the club king and then follows up with the jack, West will cover it. Declarer cannot afford to win in dummy, since the suit would again be blocked. It would be equally unrewarding to let West hold the trick with the club queen, since the defenders could then run spades.

The only way out of the difficulty involves a touch of deception; South must lead the club 10 at trick two, hoping West ducks, ‘in sleep’. If he does, South can cash out the clubs in comfort, and make his game.

Should West cover the 10? Probably yes, but it is the sort of play we all miss at the table, from time to time.

Your partner’s failure to double suggests a balanced hand with two hearts; maybe 3-2-3-5 or 4-1-3-5 pattern? I would lead a heart, perhaps planning to set up ruffs on defense, but I would lead low in case my partner does indeed have a vulnerable doubleton or singleton honor.


♠ Q 4 2
 J 10 6 3 2
 10 2
♣ K 7 2
South West North East
  Pass 1 ♣ 1
1 2 All 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