Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

Thinking to me is the greatest fatigue in the world.

Sir John Vanbrugh

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


When Norway took on Indonesia in the quarterfinals of the Bermuda Bowl in 2001, the Indonesians tended to go for the more direct route, the Norwegians followed a more cerebral approach. But that was not always the case.

On this deal, the Indonesians had discovered their four-four heart fit, and played game there, a contract that went two down on the diamond ruff. By contrast, Erik Saelensminde located the heart suit opposite, but then deliberately bypassed the 4-4 heart fit.

Given that his partner’s ruffing value in spades was wasted at no-trump, he certainly emerged smelling of roses. To be fair, it is hard to see how to offer a choice of hearts or no-trump sensibly on this deal; still, I think declarer is due a lot of credit here.

Of course it is one thing to bid the game, another to make it. Three no-trump, on a club lead to the 10 and queen, was by no means cold. Saelensminde won in hand and knocked out the heart ace; now West shifted to a diamond.

That let East win and lead a spade through, but Saelensminde put up the ace and cashed all his club and heart winners, ending in dummy, then exited with the fourth club to force West to lead spades into the tenace. Nicely done!

On a club continuation at trick three, there would also have been a lot of play left in the board. But if declarer plays for diamonds 4-1 and ducks a diamond early, he can always succeed.

It feels wrong to rebid one no-trump with a side suit singleton. You can bid two clubs, expecting to find a fit or that partner will act again with extras. Since there do not appear to be too many spades in the deck, you would not be surprised to hear your partner rebid spades to show a really good hand. If he does, you will rebid two no-trump.


♠ 9
 K 9 6 4
 7 5 4 2
♣ K 8 6 4
South West North East
  1 Dbl. 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