Houston Chronicle

ACES ON BRIDGE

- By Bobby Wolff

One of the pairs fighting for the big prizes and top honors at the 2000 Cavendish Invitation­al was Bart Bramley and Sidney Lazard. Bramley drew an interestin­g inference to bring home this delicate four-diamond contract.

The auction was more typical of a pairs event than an IMP event, except that the diamond suit triumphed over spades.

It is rarely right to compete to four of a minor, but Bramley chose the right time to do it, with three spades going only one down. That contract actually might have come home unless North decided to lead a club early, or to shift to a club upon winning his diamond. Even doubling three spades and setting it one would not outscore a possible plus 130 — if Bramley could bring home his contract.

In four diamonds on the spade king lead and a spade continuati­on, Bramley put up the jack to force the queen and to confirm the location of the spade honors.

He ruffed, then drew two rounds of trumps and led a club to the king. Next came a third diamond to dummy and a second club. East took the ace and played a third club. Bramley won and paused to count up the hand.

Since East clearly had both round aces to justify his cue-bid and had also shown up with the spade queen, he was less likely to have the heart jack — he might have opened with that card, bidding a weak no-trump. So Bart advanced the heart 10; whether West covered or not, Bramley had his 10th trick via a backward finesse against the heart nine, if necessary.

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