Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Thursday, October 10th, 2019

Never before have so many people understood so little about so much.

James Burke

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

*Transfer to hearts


Faced with settling for partscore via Stayman or inviting game with a transfer followed by two spades, North chose the latter. South closed his eyes and drove to four hearts.

East won the low diamond lead with the ace and shifted to the club queen, wisely ducked by South to cut the defenders’ communications. South won the club jack continuation, pitched a club on the diamond king and advanced the heart nine to the queen and ace (better than low to the 10, which would lose to East’s singleton honor).

When declarer called for a small heart from the board and East followed small, South had a tough decision. He did not believe West would have covered with the queen from queen-doubleton, since it might solve declarer’s guess.

Accordingly, South had to choose between West’s holding K-Q-8 and a singleton. Deciding that West might not cover with the former — as it might spare declarer a guess or crash East’s singleton jack — declarer inserted the heart six.

When West discarded, that was one hurdle crossed, but South still had to negotiate the spades. South knocked out the heart king, won East’s trump return in dummy and crossed to hand with a spade to ruff a club. After confirming the 4-3 split, declarer played a spade back to the king and advanced the spade three.

Since the opening lead appeared to have been from four, East had started with three clubs and four cards in each red suit, thus only two spades. So declarer finessed the spade 10 and made his game.

With four-card support, a source of tricks and shortness, you have too much for a simple raise to two spades. An invitational three spades seems closer to the mark than a drive to game. While partner may not evaluate his hand properly, it might not be critical. It will not be terrible if partner thinks the diamond king is working; at the very least, it will provide a slow trick opposite our queen.


♠ Q 10 7 5
 A 10 7 4 2
♣ 9 7 2
South West North East
    1 ♠ 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