ACES ON BRIDGE

Vancouver Sun - - FEATURES - BOBBY WOLFF

“If some­body is gra­cious enough to give me a sec­ond chance, I won’t need a third.”

— Pete Rose

At the Dyspep­tics Club, there is lit­tle doubt (ex­cept in the minds of the play­ers ha­bit­u­ally sit­ting South and West) that the play­ers in the North and East seats are tech­ni­cally more pro­fi­cient than their part­ners, and are cer­tainly more adept at trans­fer­ring blame to their part­ners.

In to­day’s deal, North could have fol­lowed an in­vi­ta­tional se­quence rather than driving to game, but the fi­nal con­tract would have been the same. The play in four spades fol­lowed a pre­dictable course over the first cou­ple of tricks. In re­sponse to his part­ner’s bid, West led his dou­ble­ton heart. East won the trick with the 10 and cashed the club ace in case his part­ner had the king. When West fol­lowed with a small club, East took the ace and king of hearts, West dis­card­ing a small di­a­mond. De­clarer ruffed the third heart and fi­nessed in trumps, and when they be­haved, he took the rest.

South re­marked com­pla­cently that he had fol­lowed the only chance for his con­tract, and North, who had been su­per­vis­ing pro­ceed­ings care­fully, com­mented drily that he was lucky to have been given that chance. Nei­ther East nor West rose to the bait, but can you see what he meant?

When East dis­cov­ered his part­ner did not have the club king, he should have cashed a sec­ond high heart and con­tin­ued with a low heart, per­suad­ing West to ruff in with his pre­cious five of trumps. That forces an honor from dummy and gives East an even­tual trump trick.

AN­SWER: Typ­i­cally, opener tries to find a sec­ond call in this auc­tion, but is more in­clined to do so when short in hearts. With three small hearts, you must as­sume part­ner is weak rather than hav­ing a penalty dou­ble of hearts, and he’s cer­tainly not go­ing to have spades. Ev­ery­thing points toward pass­ing now, since heart length is so un­likely in light of your own hold­ing in that suit.

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