ACES ON BRIDGE

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

Things have their due mea­sure; there are ul­ti­mately fixed lim­its,beyond which,or short of which,some­thing must be wrong. — Ho­race

When South hears his part­ner cue-bid two spades, ini­tially a game try, he tem­po­rizes with three di­a­monds. Af­ter one more cue-bid from South, North takes con­trol with Black­wood, then bids five no-trump to in­di­cate pos­ses­sion of all the key-cards and the trump queen, and even­tu­ally set­tles for the small slam.

Af­ter the lead of the spade king to the ace, de­clarer draws trumps with the heart king and ace. Now, be­fore test­ing di­a­monds, he takes the club ace and king, and ruffs a club in hand. On this trick, West dis­cards a spade, sug­gest­ing that he holds at least three di­a­monds. So de­clarer cashes the di­a­mond king and leads a di­a­mond to the 10. When East dis­cards, South ex­its with a spade. West can win, but is faced with a choice of ways to sur­ren­der the 12th trick, in the form of ei­ther a ruff-and-dis­card or a di­a­mond lead into the tenace.

If de­clarer had played the hand in a sim­pler fash­ion, just ex­it­ing in spades af­ter elim­i­nat­ing the trumps and clubs (as many peo­ple would), then he would have sur­vived if West had taken the sec­ond spade. Then, if West led a di­a­mond from the queen, the di­a­mond loser would van­ish, while if he gave a ruff-and-dis­card, South could ditch one di­a­mond and still be on the di­a­mond guess. How­ever, the de­fense would pre­vail if East could win the spade exit and lead a di­a­mond. West can sim­ply cover South’s card and col­lect a di­a­mond win­ner at the end, no mat­ter what de­clarer does.

AN­SWER: Your part­ner has warned you not to bid on, sug­gest­ing some de­fense against spades.Yes, you have five hearts, but your de­fense is more than ad­e­quate, so you should pass — and lead a trump, of course. On all these auc­tions, de­clarer’s best chance of scram­bling tricks nor­mally comes from a cross-ruff.

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