ACES ON BRIDGE

The Dallas Morning News - - Comics & Puzzles / Television - By BOBBY WOLFF An­drews McMeel Syn­di­ca­tion

There are few things more ag­gra­vat­ing at the bridge ta­ble than to be dealt a se­quence on lead, and to find that lead­ing from it is the only way to let through a con­tract. I don’t know about you, but when this hap­pens to me, it al­ways feels as if The Great Shuf­fler is hold­ing me up as an ex­am­ple to make fun of.

That was no doubt what West felt at the end of to­day’s deal. After South (play­ing four-card ma­jors) had shown a min­i­mum opener with no short­age, North drove to slam. West saw no rea­son to look be­yond the spade jack for his opening lead. He must have felt more than a lit­tle un­com­fort­able when dummy went down, but when de­clarer won in dummy, he breathed again, feel­ing rel­a­tively com­fort­able that his part­ner had the queen.

De­clarer was able to turn the screws on him at once, though, by draw­ing trumps end­ing in hand, lead­ing a low spade, duck­ing West’s seven, and let­ting East win his now-bare spade queen.

Had that player had a spade left to lead, the suit would have bro­ken 3-3, and there would have been a home for South’s di­a­mond loser. As it was, East had to play a mi­nor suit, and his only chance was to lead a club, hop­ing that de­clarer had started with a dou­ble­ton. But de­clarer could win cheaply and dis­card dummy’s di­a­mond loser on the club win­ner in due course.

If East un­blocks his spade queen at trick one, de­clarer builds a dis­card from the spade eight for his con­tract.

An­swer: Even if this might not be your style, can I sug­gest that the odds fa­vor dou­bling here? Not be­cause you will beat it on any lead — of course that isn’t nec­es­sar­ily so. But if you play (as do many) that this asks your part­ner to lead from his short­est ma­jor, then you have a de­cent shot to at­tract a heart lead — after which it would be dis­ap­point­ing for de­clarer to be able to make nine tricks.

YES­TER­DAY’S AN­SWER

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