ACES ON BRIDGE

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - BOBBY WOLFF

This deal came to me from a reader, Scott Na­son of Dal­las, who re­marked on his part­ner’s pre­sump­tu­ous­ness in driv­ing to a slam miss­ing two key-cards -— and then some. But he also ac­cepted full re­spon­si­bil­ity for fail­ing to bring home the op­ti­mistic con­tract. Could you have done bet­ter?

When Na­son’s LHO led the heart seven, Na­son rose with the ace, feel­ing con­fi­dent that this par­tic­u­lar West would not have led small from the dou­ble­ton king. The king fell from East, so the first hur­dle had been crossed. But don’t re­lax; you need to plan the rest of the play.

With­out any bid­ding from the op­po­nents, the best line would prob­a­bly be to play a spade to­ward hand, and put in the jack if RHO plays small. (If East is good enough to duck dummy’s sin­gle­ton while hold­ing the ace, you should tip your hat to him.) If the jack fetches the ace, the plan is to pitch a club on the king and take the di­a­mond fi­nesse for the 12th trick.

But, since West had ac­tu­ally made a one-spade over­call, I think the best line is to play a heart to hand and put the di­a­mond queen on the ta­ble. It is cov­ered by the king, so you win the ace, and play a di­a­mond to the jack. Now lead a heart to the board, and cash the di­a­mond 10, pitch­ing the spade jack. Then, ruff the last di­a­mond and exit with the spade king to end­play your LHO.

If Na­son had done all of that, he would have had a deal to re­mem­ber.

AN­SWER: Even if you play one spade as en­cour­ag­ing but not forc­ing — rea­son­able enough, though I am happy to play new suits as forc­ing — you should not pass now. Your best call is to re­bid two di­a­monds, which is a more com­plete de­scrip­tion of your hand than re­bid­ding your hearts. If you would like to con­tact Bobby Wolff, email him at

Painters and po­ets alike have al­ways had li­cense to dare any­thing.

BID WITH THE ACES

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