Vancouver Sun

aces on bridge

- bobby wolff Sports · G. K. Chesterton

“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.

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