aces on bridge
“One sees great things from the valley, only small things from the peak.” — G.K. Chesterton
When West leads a spade against four hearts, East comes in with the ace, while declarer follows with the queen. East must decide on his defense at trick two without knowing whether his partner has the spade king.
In view of the strong dummy, East can see that the least West will have to produce to give the defense a chance to beat the game is a trump trick plus at least one more winner from spades and clubs. Without two top cards, the defense surely has no chance to succeed, whether partner has a diamond winner or not.
In theory, a prompt attack on the diamonds might knock out the ace and queen before declarer can clear both the trumps and clubs. But what does that give declarer in the way of an opening bid? At most a nine-count if partner has a high heart, club and diamond!
But the ace of clubs and a high trump in the West hand would enable the defense to defeat game by means of a club ruff — assuming that South has any three small clubs.
This hope requires far less to come to fruition, since it does not involve placing a third high card in the West hand, such as the diamond king. East should therefore switch to a club at trick two, which West will win to return the suit. Then when West gets in again with the king of hearts, he can lead a third club, and East can ruff to set the game.
ANSWER: A quick reality check for those who think they have extra values, so should therefore bid on for fear of missing game: Your partner heard you ask him to bid hearts if he could. He did so, and indicated he was not interested in game. You have poor shape, only three hearts, and about a queen more than a minimum double. How likely is your side to make game? Not at all, I’d say. Pass and hope to go plus.