ACES ON BRIDGE

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

Chris Wil­lenken brought home a dif­fi­cult con­tract in the Round of 64 of last year’s Spin­gold Tro­phy in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. Against four spades, reached on a some­what un­usual but very re­veal­ing auc­tion, West led the di­a­mond eight, cov­ered by the king and ace, and East re­turned a trump.

The trump re­turn and the auc­tion had sug­gested that West would have a nat­u­ral trump trick. De­clarer could see nine tricks in the form of one club, one di­a­mond, two ruffs and five trump win­ners. But where would trick 10 come from?

Wil­lenken de­cided that his best shot — as­sum­ing his view of the en­emy dis­tri­bu­tion was cor­rect — was to end­play West into lead­ing a heart in the endgame, so he won the trump switch, ruffed a heart in dummy, ruffed a low club in his hand and ruffed an­other heart. When East fol­lowed with the heart king, Wil­lenken was sure

West had started with a 3=6=2=2 pat­tern.

So Wil­lenken ruffed an­other club in hand, cashed the trump king and crossed to the di­a­mond queen. In the five-card end­ing, West was down to four hearts and the trump queen.

On the club ace, de­clarer pitched a heart, and the end­ing Wil­lenken had en­vi­sioned ma­te­ri­al­ized. West, real­iz­ing that ruff­ing the club ace would leave him end­played, dis­carded a heart. Wil­lenken then ruffed a club in hand (West again dis­card­ing a heart) and ex­ited with his now-bare spade jack to West’s queen, en­sur­ing he would col­lect the game-go­ing heart trick at the end.

AN­SWER: Any­one who only raises to three di­a­monds, go to the back of the class! This hand is far too strong for that ac­tion, and you have two ways to show the ex­tras. One is to bid the im­pos­si­ble two spades (you have de­nied length there al­ready) as a way to show a max­i­mum raise for part­ner. The other is to jump to three spades, a splin­ter bid agree­ing di­a­monds.

— Al­bert Ein­stein

The most beau­ti­ful thing we can ex­pe­ri­ence is the mys­te­ri­ous. It is the source of all true art and science.

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