ACES ON BRIDGE
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.