Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order the continuous thread of revelation.

Eudora Welty

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

*natural and forcing


In today’s deal North’s bidding indicates a moderately strong hand with shortness in hearts. Any player who can bid two suits and raise a third clearly rates to be relatively short in the fourth. There is an argument that his strength is limited by the fact that he did no more than raise three clubs to four. There again, what else could North do if he wasn’t going to jump to game or use Blackwood?

In any event, South cuebids four hearts, then jumps to slam when North cuebids four spades at his next turn. The four spade bid promises a diamond control, since South has denied one by bypassing that suit at his previous turn.

The auction directs West to a diamond lead, and South can see that he will have no problem if clubs break. He takes the diamond ace to draw trump, but when he cashes the top clubs he finds West with a trump trick. Therefore he must try to discard dummy’s losing diamonds on his own hearts before West can ruff in and cash a diamond.

South starts with the three top hearts, pitching diamonds from dummy. West must follow suit to three rounds of hearts and can discard a spade on the fourth. South ruffs in dummy, play the spade ace and ruff a spade, then discards dummy’s last diamond on the fifth heart.

West’s ruff comes just too late to defeat the contract. Declarer can trump his losing diamond in dummy for his 12th trick.

As someone who frequently espouses the virtues of fourth suit as an artificial rather than natural call, I’m pleased to tell you that on this occasion the fourth suit is natural and non-forcing. (For the record, though, had you opened one club, using two diamonds here would be strong and artificial.) This is one of the good reasons for opening one diamond with this shape.


♠ A 7 6 2
 A J 6 3
♣ K 9 7 3
South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
1 ♠ Pass 1 NT 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