ACES ON BRIDGE

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST/TELEVISION - BOBBY WOLFF If you would like to con­tact Bobby Wolff, email him at bob­by­wolff@mind­spring.com

When con­stab­u­lary duty’s to be done … A po­lice­man’s lot is not a happy one! — W.S. Gil­bert

The sys­tem in use at the Dyspep­tics Club rub­ber game in­cludes trans­fer re­sponses to one no-trump. So when South picked up his usual col­lec­tion of high cards and opened one no-trump, North could look with fa­vor on his aces and kings and trans­fer to spades, fol­lowed by a quan­ti­ta­tive jump to four no-trump. That was a sen­si­ble val­u­a­tion of his cards. South, who had never met a 16-count he didn’t like, leapt to the spade slam, and there they were. For the record, to set spades as trump then use Black­wood, one would start with a Texas trans­fer at the four-level.

The play matched the speed of the bid­ding, but not the ac­cu­racy. South won the sec­ond round of hearts, then played three rounds of clubs, ruff­ing in hand as West pitched a di­a­mond. Then he tried the spade queen and jack, de­cid­ing not to over­take be­cause of the sight of East’s spade nine on the first round. He barely had time to pat him­self on his back when West ruffed the sec­ond di­a­mond, and down went the con­tract.

South’s protes­ta­tions of be­ing born un­der an un­lucky star cut no ice with North, who knew how many points South was nor­mally dealt. But there was a sec­ond rea­son, too; can you see it?

South should have cashed one round of trumps, then the di­a­mond ace and king, be­fore ruff­ing the club in hand. Once that passes off peace­fully, de­clarer can un­block in trumps and safely ruff a di­a­mond to dummy to com­plete the draw­ing of trumps. AN­SWER: Even though you ex­pect the op­po­nents to raise spades, there is no rea­son to be de­flected from your plan of bid­ding clubs, then rais­ing di­a­monds. Un­less part­ner dou­bles a high-level spade call (and maybe even then?), you will see your plan through. You may have only 9 HCP, but this hand cor­re­lates to al­most a full opener when you take the likely fit into ac­count.

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