Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, 10 February, 2024


Jeff SerandosFebruary 10th, 2024 at 4:37 pm

Hi Bobby,

I am having a little trouble seeing how South succeeds with the line given in the last paragraph if West ducks the first spade to refuse South the late entry to the clubs. I’m not saying there isn’t a way, just that I can’t seem to find it. Can anyone help me out?



jim2February 10th, 2024 at 5:26 pm

The last paragraph is indeed not as clear as it might have been were space not a problem for newspaper columnists.

I suspect the declarer line would have been:

1) Win opening lead AD
2) Club to Q and AC
3) xD to East’s QD
4) Trump back, won in closed hand

It is thus at Trick 5 where the text picks up with the successful declarer line. Declarer has won 2 tricks, the defense has won 2.

5) xD ruffed with AH (instead of leading spades)
6) xH to declarer’s hand
7 & 8) Draw last two trump (leaving declarer with one master trump) Declarer has now won 6 tricks, and the defense has still won only 2. There are 5 tricks left.
9) xS towards Board

If West ducks, declarer takes the last 5 tricks: the QS, 3 good Clubs, and the last trump = 11 tricks.

If West takes AS at Trick 9, declarer takes the last 4 tricks.

Iain ClimieFebruary 10th, 2024 at 6:48 pm

Hi Folks,

Does it help West to duck the CA?



jim2February 10th, 2024 at 7:26 pm

I am not sure, but the tempo gain looks like declarer can switch lines by leading towards QS. If it wins, duck a spade.

If the spade duck leads to a trump return, win in hand, ruff a spade low, cash AD, ruff club, ruff spade with AS, and declarer has enough high trump for 10 tricks.

If the spade duck leads to a AC return, declarer can ruff as East discards a spade, ruff one spade high, draw trump, and the AD is there as a club entry.

If the spade duck leads to a low club, East can ruff and be over-ruffed, or East can pitch a spade letting declarer lead trump to hand, spade ruff high, draw trump, cash AD. 1S + 1 S ruff + 5trump + 1D + 2C

If the spade duck leads to a D return, win AD, trump to hand, S ruff low, club ruff, S ruff high, draw trump. QS + 2 S ruffs + 5 trump + 1D + 1 C

If West rises with AS, declarer will need only one S ruff. 2S + 1 S ruff + 5 trump + 1D + 1C.

The key seems to be that declarer can always ruff with AH and lead low to hand to draw trump.

Iain ClimieFebruary 10th, 2024 at 7:48 pm

HI Jim2,

Thanks for that – very thorough. I think at the table though that I’d be tempted to duck on general principles and even more so with xx or xxx in trumps.


Jeff SerandosFebruary 10th, 2024 at 9:50 pm

Hi Jim2 and Iain,

Jim2, thanks for the thorough analysis. You are right, I was misreading that last paragraph as suggesting an earlier spade lead rather than trick 5.

And thanks to Iain for asking my next question before I could. 🙂 Mind-bending hand, very worthy of a Saturday column.