ACES ON BRIDGE
“But the tender grace of a day that is dead Will never come back to me.”
— Alfred. Lord Tennyson .....................
Today’s deal is taken from a late round of the Gold Cup, the premier British knockout teams event. East made a light raise of his partner’s one-club opening, hoping to consume some bidding space and make it harder for the opponents to get into the auction. South overcalled two spades and somewhat optimistically pushed on to game facing North’s simple raise.
Declarer won the heart lead in dummy and immediately played a spade to the king. West won and continued hearts, declarer using the heart entry to dummy to run the diamond jack. He could then ruff the third heart in dummy and repeat the diamond finesse before laying down the spade queen. He thus came home for the loss of two spades and a diamond.
West might have done better to duck his spade ace in tempo. Would declarer then know how to use his remaining entries to dummy? East had just about enough room for the spade ace, and if he did hold that card, the diamond royals would both be offside. In that case, it would be essential that declarer use his opportunities while on the table to lead another spade up rather than take the combination finesse in diamonds.
South should probably still get the position right, but West ought to have given his opponent a losing option. South would not think to lead a spade to the king on the first round if he had king-10-eight-fifth; he would finesse the eight. Thus, it is highly unlikely that it could cost a trick to duck the first spade in tempo.
Two-suited hands become very powerful upon finding a fit. All of your high cards are working, and you can see yourself setting up the long diamonds. Make a game-try of three diamonds, asking for some help in the suit. Partner will devalue the likes of three small but will look kindly upon shortness, or one or more diamond fillers.
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