Even the ace fol­lows the rule

Cecil Whig - - & & - By Phillip Alder

A.N. Ony­mous said, “A Smith & Wes­son al­ways beats four aces.”

How­ever, peo­ple who are aces in their field tend to fol­low their own beat. They are ca­pa­ble of do­ing things at which lesser play­ers can only mar­vel. In bridge, an ace is the high­est-ranking card in a suit; but at times it must fol­low the guide­lines that ap­ply to lesser cards. This deal is sim­i­lar to yes­ter­day’s, in that the con­tract, two hearts, and the open­ing lead, the club three, are the same, but South’s spades have been strength­ened from jack-dou­ble­ton to king-dou­ble­ton, and his trumps have been weak­ened slightly. The de­fend­ers take two clubs and one spade, then exit with a spade to South’s king. De­clarer crosses to the board with a di­a­mond and leads the heart 10. What should hap­pen now? Re­mem­ber, North’s two-heart re­bid in­di­cated 6-9 points and only a dou­ble­ton heart. (With three hearts, he would have raised one heart to two hearts, not re­sponded one spade.) We have learned that it is usu­ally cor­rect for a de­fender to cover the only honor when it is led from the dummy -- and that ap­plies to this deal. To have a chance to de­feat two hearts, East must take the heart 10 with his ace. Yes, South can still get home if he guesses to end­play West, but he prob­a­bly will not. (The cu­ri­ous may work it out.) How­ever, if de­clarer is al­lowed to run the heart 10 to West’s queen, the con­tract will be safe. South will win a club lead in the dummy and play an­other trump, when East’s ace catches only low cards. De­clarer’s re­main­ing hearts will all be win­ners.

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