ACES ON BRIDGE

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - OUR TOWN - BID WITH THE ACES If you would like to con­tact Bobby Wolff, email him at bob­by­wolff@mind­spring.com

There’s an en­try point to any re­la­tion­ship. — Will.i.am

The con­tract of six spades is reached along di­rect lines when South shows a bal­anced 22-24, and North trans­fers into spades to show five, then of­fers a choice of slams with his call of five no-trump. South selects spades, hop­ing he can ar­range a club ruff in his hand.

Six spades ought to be straight­for­ward enough, but the du­pli­ca­tion of val­ues in the club suit means that not only is de­clarer reliant on the hearts be­hav­ing in mod­er­ately friendly fash­ion, he also has en­try prob­lems in en­sur­ing he can play hearts to best ef­fect.

The open­ing lead is the club two to de­clarer’s ace. Now comes the spade king, and de­clarer can af­ford to over­take his king with the ace when West fol­lows suit. At this point, de­clarer plays a heart to the jack and queen. (If West ducks this, he may lead de­clarer astray, I sup­pose, but few would find that play — and de­clarer can still sur­vive.)

South wins the next club, to lead the spade 10 from hand. When West fol­lows to the trick, he over­takes it in dummy to take a sec­ond heart fi­nesse. The 4-1 trump break does not in­con­ve­nience de­clarer, thanks to the mul­ti­ple un­blocks. When the sec­ond heart fi­nesse works, South can fi­nesse the spade eight and run the spades, to draw the rest of the trumps, dis­card­ing di­a­monds from hand. Fi­nally, a third heart fi­nesse brings home the ba­con.

De­clarer ends up tak­ing five spades, three hearts, and two tricks in each of the mi­nors.

AN­SWER: There are as many points to be won by go­ing plus in­stead of mi­nus as there are for stretch­ing to a close game — es­pe­cially in pairs. Here, your 10-count has only one re­deem­ing fea­ture: the fifth trump. So pass two spades and try to make it.

BOBBY WOLFF

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