aces on bridge
“The capacity to contemplate ... the harmonious elegance in Nature’s manifestations, is one of the most satisfactory experiences of which man is capable.”
— Dr. Hans Selye
On this deal from last spring ’s Jacoby Open Swiss Teams in Kansas City, Missouri, Peter Boyd found a pretty line to bring home a challenging three no-trump. Boyd was partnering with Adam Wildavsky and received some clues from the auction.
West led the club king against three no-trump and continued with the club queen, as East discarded a discouraging diamond. Declarer ducked again, captured the club jack at trick three as East pitched a spade and, guided by the auction, cashed the diamond ace. The welcome sight of the diamond king from West gave him eight top winners and also created the possibility of pressure against West later on. But for this to be relevant, West needed to have started with four hearts, so that dummy’s long heart could bring that pressure.
Boyd correctly continued by cashing his diamond winners as West was forced to disgorge a low spade and the club seven. Now Boyd played the fourth round of diamonds. East won the trick while declarer threw a low spade, and West was now on the horns of a dilemma. He chose to discard a second low spade, but when East exited with a heart, declarer won the king, cashed the heart ace-queen (pitching a club), then crossed to the spade ace, dropping West’s king.
East had followed suit throughout so was forced down to Q -8 of spades. Thus, after a low spade to dummy’s jack, East could win his queen but then had to give declarer his game-going trick at the end in the form of the spade 10.
ANSWER: Your hand is on the cusp of inviting game, but with all your values in the suits where partner is short, the more discreet action is simply to bid two spades rather than to invite game with a call of two no-trump. You might tip me the other way if you had the spade 10 in addition to your other values.