Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

A lie is an abomination unto the Lord, but a very present help in time of trouble.


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


On this deal from last summer’s second qualifying session of the Von Zedtwitz Life Master Pairs, after passing initially, most Souths found themselves in a spade part-score.

Aggressive pairs found themselves in four spades when they decided that, as a passed hand, their offensive values were about as good as they could possibly be. They then had to make their game to justify their aggression.

Much depended on how friendly the defenders were going to be on opening lead, but declarer was still in a good place even if the defenders didn’t give him a helping hand. The point was that if West unimaginatively led the heart ace and another heart, declarer had 10 tricks without breaking a sweat. South could draw trumps and pitch a diamond loser on the heart winner.

However, at one table, West was able to see that the heart ruff could probably wait, so he led a low spade. South won the lead and played back the suit, letting East pitch an encouraging club as West won his ace. So West shifted to a club.

To make 10 tricks now, declarer should win the club ace, cross to hand in the trump suit and lead a low heart to the jack, then duck a heart to fell West’s now-bare ace. That gives declarer a discard of a diamond from dummy and an easy route to plus 620. Since West is marked with at most a doubleton, this play is strongly indicated. If East has the ace, you cannot generate a discard for yourself from the hearts.

Your partner’s double of three hearts is not best played as penalty or even defensive. It suggests he has a game try, typically balanced rather than with extreme shape. When the opponents compete to rob your partner of any game try, double replaces the game try — the socalled maximal double. I’d just bid three spades now.


♠ Q J 6 3
 J 6 2
 A 8 4
♣ A 10 9
South West North East
1 ♣ 1 1 ♠ 2
2 ♠ 3 Dbl. Pass

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Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2019. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact