Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

I’m tired of Love: I’m still more tired of Rhyme. But Money gives me pleasure all the time.

Hilaire Belloc

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


When South overcalled, North elected to offer three no-trump rather than driving there directly, and South’s sixth spade persuaded him to revert to spades.

East won West’s club lead with the ace and shifted to the diamond jack, suggesting he would have most of the remaining high cards, so South won his diamond king and led a low heart. West followed low, and declarer finessed the heart nine. East deceptively took the heart ace and pressed on with the diamond 10 to dummy’s ace, but declarer now had little choice but to run the heart queen. East followed low smoothly, and declarer discarded his diamond loser.

Declarer next focused on trumps. 10 tricks would be trivial if trumps broke, but if they were 4-1, declarer probably needed to find West with a significant singleton.

South saw an extra chance, though. Instead of blithely cashing the spade ace, he crossed to hand with a club and advanced the spade 10. If West had followed with the nine or an honor, he would have taken dummy’s ace and tried a finesse on the way back. As it was, when West produced a small card, South let the 10 run.

He knew that if East won the trick, he could not give his partner a trump promotion; as it was, when the nine appeared, declarer had held his losses in trumps to one trick.

If East had covered the second heart, declarer probably would have been unable to make this maneuver in trumps safely, because of the risk of a trump promotion.

There are three sensible policies that five-cardmajor adherents can follow here. They can open one of a minor and rebid one no-trump over one spade, or open one diamond and rebid two clubs over one spade. With most of my points in hearts, I tend to open my better minor and rebid one no-trump. Here, I would bid one club.


♠ 9
 A K 7 6
 J 10 9 2
♣ A 8 7 2
South West North East

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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