ACES ON BRIDGE

The Dallas Morning News - - COMICS & PUZZLES / TELEVISION - By BOBBY WOLFF An­drews McMeel Syn­di­ca­tion

Part of the se­cret of bridge is draw­ing in­fer­ences from the bids that are made, as well as the ones that aren’t. In this deal from the Cavendish In­vi­ta­tional Pairs, play­ing with the late Sid­ney Lazard, Bart Bram­ley drew an in­ter­est­ing con­clu­sion to bring home his del­i­cate con­tract of four di­a­monds.

West led the spade king and con­tin­ued with a low spade. Bram­ley put up the jack to see which honor East had, try­ing to de­velop a count on his op­po­nents’ high cards. He ruffed the spade, then drew two rounds of trumps end­ing in dummy, and tried a club to his king. When that held, he led a third di­a­mond to dummy and played a sec­ond club.

Michael Cor­nell, sit­ting East, took his ace and ex­ited safely with a third club. Bram­ley won in hand, and now was able to as­sem­ble a pic­ture of his op­po­nents’ as­sets.

East’s cue-bid raise had shown a max­i­mum pass; this meant that he likely held both the club and heart aces and the spade queen. So Bart de­cided he was not a fa­vorite also to hold the heart jack. Since his part­ner­ship was play­ing the weak no-trump, East might have opened the bid­ding with that card in ad­di­tion to his known 10-count, whether or not he had the club jack.

So Bart tabled the heart 10, and now whether West cov­ered this or not, Bram­ley was able to make his con­tract. Had West put up his jack, de­clarer would even- tu­ally have been able to fi­nesse suc­cess­fully against the heart nine.

An­swer: The dou­ble fol­lowed by a cue-bid shows a re­ally good hand ask­ing for more in­for­ma­tion. In con­text, you now have enough to ex­pect game to make. But with­out a four-card ma­jor and a club stop­per, the route for­ward isn’t clear. I would re­turn the fa­vor to my part­ner by cue-bid­ding three clubs, hop­ing part­ner can pro­vide us with di­rec­tion as to which game to head to­ward.

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