Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, November 8th, 2018

An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.

Victor Hugo

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


Today’s deal shows what appears to be a relatively simple contract of four spades. However, the deal may only appear to be easy because there seem to be five top tricks outside the trump suit and the threat of only three losers (one in each side suit after a top heart lead). But that ignores the risk of the defenders cashing more than one heart if you draw all the trumps; or they may get a ruff or overruff if you don’t draw trumps.

The simplest way to play the hand is to assume trumps will break. After the heart king lead to your ace (ducking might permit the defenders a ruff), the simplest plan is to cash the spade ace and king, then play on clubs.

East can take either the first or second round of clubs, and will play a heart when he does so. Dummy’s remaining trump can now be used to ruff the third heart. East overruffs, but that is the last defensive trick, since there are no trumps out and declarer has the diamond ace as an entry to dummy.

One trap to avoid here is playing three rounds of trumps before playing clubs. If you do so, the defenders may be able to cash one club and three heart tricks, since dummy will be bereft of trumps. Similarly, if you draw fewer than two rounds of trumps before playing two rounds of clubs, with the cards lying as they do in the diagram, West may get a club ruff from the short trumps, then lead hearts to promote a trump trick for his partner.

Not all hands fit into the convenient algorithm of adding up the high cards and spitting out an answer. If your diamond nine were in clubs, I would probably pass two hearts, but your extra shape means you have enough to invite game. A case could be made for reraising to three hearts to suggest six; but maybe a rebid of two no-trump more accurately expresses your values.


♠ 10 2
 K Q J 9 4
 Q 10 9 5
♣ 7 3
South West North East
    1 NT Pass
2 Pass 2 Pass


Ken MooreNovember 22nd, 2018 at 4:58 pm


On BWTA, before we can make the next bid, don’t we need to know if the partnership plays Jacoby Transfers after one NT? If so, the 2H rebid is merely following orders rather than informational. How would you play it differently if that is the case?

PS – Two Moore squeezes? Really?

Bobby WolffNovember 26th, 2018 at 7:47 pm

Hi Ken,

No doubt the majority of bridge players, still left in the USA, estimated at 8 million, but having declined perceptively from the 40 million thought to be present in the late 1950’s likely do not play Jacoby transfers, but the same is not to be said or thought to be true with the current membership of the ACBL, where perhaps 80% or better do play 2 level transfers.

Therefore it is expected that when talking about tournament bridge JTB is thought to be on everyone’s convention card. In any event please excuse my omission and yes JTB is being played while experiencing the BWTA.

The answer given is a close choice between passing 2 hearts or bidding on with 3 of another suit as a form of raise, but waiting for partner to make his next mistake.

However I would pass 2 hearts since partner while holding a really good hand for hearts (often 4+ of them) might choose a jump to 3 hearts to show his maximum which would then, and, of course, a raise to 4 by me.

Merely a play on words, recognizing your creativity.