ACES ON BRIDGE

Edmonton Journal - - FEATURES - bobby wolff

“Who­ever is care­less with truth in small mat­ters can­not be trusted in im­por­tant af­fairs.”

— Al­bert Ein­stein

To­day’s deal from the 2017 Euro­pean Open Cham­pi­onships shows var­i­ous de­clar­ers at work in a slam. You play six spades (af­ter part­ner uses Black­wood while show­ing a club void) on the lead of the di­a­mond three. Let’s have a look at what hap­pened to a va­ri­ety of care­less de­clar­ers.

At the first ta­ble, de­clarer re­ceived the lead of the di­a­mond three and im­me­di­ately turned his at­ten­tion to the trump suit by win­ning in dummy and call­ing for the spade 10.

That card held the trick, and de­clarer re­peated the fi­nesse. West won this time and played back a club, rather than find­ing the killing de­fense of re­turn­ing a third spade. Twelve tricks claimed.

At a sec­ond ta­ble, West did find the play of a third trump. De­clarer won in hand and ruffed a club to set up his 12th trick, but stood no chance to get back to his hand to pull that last trump! One down.

It would have been bet­ter when East dis­carded on the sec­ond round of trumps to go up with the ace, ruff a club and play a spade to the eight or jack. It then doesn’t mat­ter when West wins his spade king — he is end­played since he has the heart queen and is forced to help de­clarer get back to his hand.

This is vastly in­fe­rior to the cor­rect line, how­ever, which is em­bar­rass­ingly easy — though ap­par­ently few de­clar­ers found it. Run the di­a­mond lead to your hand and ruff a club, then fi­nesse in spades.

Noth­ing can go wrong un­less the cards are so hos­tile that you are booked for de­feat no mat­ter what you do.

AN­SWER: A jump to four clubs now would show four-card spade sup­port and se­ri­ous ex­tra val­ues with a sin­gle­ton or void in clubs, typ­i­cally the for­mer. The hand is cer­tainly worth this call, so the ques­tion is whether you should bid on if part­ner signs off; I think not. Part­ner won’t have the di­a­mond king, and if he had both top trumps and any sort of ex­tra val­ues, he would not sign off now.

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