Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, October 7th, 2017

The world is round so that friendship may encircle it.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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


In today’s deal South declared four spades after deciding to exploit the vulnerability by pre-empting to the limit in third seat.

West kicked off with the heart king, and South ruffed and led the diamond 10 to the queen, hoping to muddy the waters in that suit. His maneuver was successful, because even though West played the diamond five on this trick, trying to show an even number of cards, East elected to play South for a singleton diamond. So he won his ace to return a club. South ducked, and when that forced West’s queen, declarer was home free, losing just one trump trick, to make 10 tricks.

Had declarer followed a less deceptive route in the diamond suit, East might have worked out that declarer actually had three diamonds and at least two clubs. In that case he might have found the killing defense at the point that he won the diamond ace. He should shift to the club 10, surrounding the nine in dummy. South must cover the 10 with the jack, and West wins and returns a club. Whatever declarer does, he cannot stop the defenders establishing a second fast winner in clubs. Declarer can draw two rounds of trump and play on diamonds, but West will ruff in and cash the club winner for down one.

This surrounding play in the club suit is often done when holding a top honor and the jack, with the 10 visible in dummy, but this is a parallel example and perhaps a little harder to spot.

This is the sort of hand where redoubling will leave you very awkwardly placed if the opponents up the ante in either black suit. Since raising diamonds initially might lose the heart suit altogether, you are much better advised to respond one heart and raise diamonds later. The initial response does not in any way limit your hand.


♠ K 6
 Q 5 4 2
 K Q 9 8
♣ 9 5 2
South West North East
  Pass 1 Dbl.

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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