ACES ON BRIDGE
Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand.The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus. — Alexander Graham Bell
South at the Dyspeptics Club was somewhat disappointed to have roughly two aces less than his usual handstrength, but he still managed to find a way to bid to game. The jump to three spades was invitational and justified only by the trump spots, and North had plenty in hand for his acceptance.
When West led his singleton club seven, declarer put up the king from dummy and dumped his 10 from hand to try to mislead East as to who had the singleton. However, East could see that a club ruff was the most likely way to beat the hand, so he returned the club four, suit preference. If West could ruff, East wanted him to lead diamonds next, the lower-ranking side suit.
West happily ruffed in and trustingly led back the diamond five. When East took the ace, his winning continuation was unclear.
If West had the diamond king, East needed to return a diamond; if South had the diamond king and
West had started with Q-x-x in trumps, a third club was necessary to promote the setting trick in trumps. With a blind guess, he returned a third club. Declarer guessed to ruff high and draw trumps from the top to make his game. Which defender was more to blame?
West should have known that he had no trump honor to promote. He needs to lead the diamond king at trick three, then a second diamond. If East knows South will follow to a third club, he can overtake the king and play on clubs. Otherwise, he will let the diamond king hold.
ANSWER: You have a good hand, but no clear direction to head in and no real guarantee of a club fit. My instinct is to double, suggesting extras, and perhaps typically three diamonds. This is in the hope that partner will be able to convert the double to penalties or repeat one of the black suits if that is appropriate. If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org