ACES ON BRIDGE
This week’s deals are all taken from the 2000 Cavendish Invitational, comprising an auction teams and an auction pairs event. In this hand, Jeff Meckstroth and Boye Brogeland had the chance for a rather unusual ducking play.
When East opens a weak two spades, the normal continuation is for North to reopen with a double and for South to jump to three no-trump, since the penalty available from passing is likely to be unsatisfactory at this vulnerability. Both Brogeland and Meckstroth arrived at this position, and on the spade jack lead they made the first critical decision to duck. When a spade was continued, they pitched a heart from dummy, and the defense did well not to win the spade ace but to let declarer score the trick cheaply. Now the declarer drove out the diamond ace, and the defense won the third round. What next? At the featured table, Alain Levy now led a heart against Meckstroth, (the jack might have been the right card, but Levy led a small one). Paul Chemla now cashed his two major-suit aces; however, Meckstroth had the rest.
At the other table, a low club shift from West brought the clubs in for no losers. Perhaps the best defense here is for West to shift to the club queen after winning the diamond ace, but declarer may still survive if he reads the position correctly. Alternatively, West could simply win the diamond ace while he still has a diamond to exit with, and let declarer do his own work.