We love all of those aces and short­ages

Cecil Whig - - & & - By Phillip Alder

Ed­die Rick­en­backer said, “The ob­vi­ously in­ex­pe­ri­enced pi­lot is the game the sci­en­tific air-fighter goes af­ter, and the ma­jor­ity of vic­to­ries are won that way. But, on the other hand, it is the novice usu­ally who gets the fa­mous ace by do­ing at some mo­ment the un­ex­pected thing.” Rick­en­backer must have avoided those novices dur­ing World War I. At the bridge ta­ble, we love not only aces but also well-placed short­ages. Look at to­day’s North hand. Part­ner opens one di­a­mond, and the next player makes a take­out dou­ble. How would you plan the auc­tion? To be hon­est, it isn’t clear-cut what to do. You might bid one heart, but a 4-4 fit there is un­likely. My fa­vorite choice is a three-spade splin­ter bid, to show a sin­gle­ton or void in spades, four or more di­a­monds and at least game-forc­ing val­ues (which makes it a slight over­bid). An al­ter­na­tive is two no-trump, Tr­us­cott, promis­ing four-card or longer di­a­mond sup­port and at least game-invitational val­ues. Or you could re­dou­ble, in­di­cat­ing 10plus high-card points. Af­ter the splin­ter bid, South should love his hand with all of those aces and the fifth trump. He should con­trol-bid four clubs to sug­gest a slam, but hope­fully the auc­tion would end in five di­a­monds. How should de­clarer plan the play af­ter the spade-king lead? South should see five pos­si­ble losers: three spades, one heart and one di­a­mond. He can elim­i­nate the spade losers by ruff­ing them on the board. The play should go: spade ace, spade ruff, club to the ace, spade ruff, club king, club ruff in hand, spade ruff with the di­a­mond king, di­a­mond ace, heart to the ace, di­a­mond jack. De­clarer loses only two tricks.

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