Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

Believe me, wise men don’t say ‘I shall live to do that’, tomorrow’s life’s too late; live today.


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


In last year’s European Championships West led his singleton spade against four hearts, for the six, seven and ace. He ducked the first trump and took the second round, East having followed with the six and nine. How should West choose to get his ruff?

Had East played the heart nine followed by the six, that would have been suit preference for diamonds. His actual sequence of plays might have indicated no special preference. So West tried a club, and was disappointed with the result.

You could argue a diamond shift needs West to find less from partner, but why not lead your diamond ace and see if partner encourages? If not, shift to a club and hope for the best.

At another table Cedric Lorenzini, North, declared four spades. The defenders cashed two diamonds ending in West, then shifted to the club 10. (A third diamond was best, and would have defeated the game by force.)

Lorenzini saw that if trumps were 4-1, he would have to play on hearts before drawing all the trump. The defenders would then probably be able to duck a heart and take a ruff. So Lorenzini won the club in hand and thoughtfully advanced the heart king. When East showed an even number of hearts, West won the first heart and continued the attack on clubs. Now declarer could survive the bad trump break.

In the other room declarer drew two rounds of trump before playing hearts; now West knew to duck the first heart and defeat the game.

This is a rare hand where I think a panel of experts would reject overcalling in a five-card major and take some other action instead. If you bid hearts, the spades may well get lost, while passing is out of the question and a one-spade overcall is not my cup of tea. I would double, and blame partner if he cannot find a major to bid.


♠ A J 10 2
 Q 8 7 5 4
 J 7
♣ A 7
South West North East
  Pass Pass 1

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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