ACES ON BRIDGE
As bidding methods develop, it has become customary for new-suit responses to a two-club opener to promise good suits, so the response of two diamonds becomes a mark-time action. Players tend to avoid bidding two no-trump with a balanced hand, or they reserve the call for a different hand type altogether.
Today, though, South hogged the no-trump, and when he was unable to raise clubs directly, his partner closed his eyes and jumped to a contract he hoped South could make. This seems premature to me, since if South had held the doubleton club queen, there easily could have been 13 tricks on top. It would have cost nothing to bid four clubs, giving South the chance to cue-bid a second-round control.
When West led the spade 10 against the no-trump slam, South instinctively ducked in dummy, realizing too late that not only were the hearts now blocked, but the spades were too! He tried to recover by cashing his heart and spade winners, then playing three rounds of clubs. However, when East was able to win and shift to diamonds, declarer had to play for his only chance of putting up the queen, so he inished an ignominious two down.
Had declarer paused for thought when it was necessary, he would have put up dummy’s ace at trick one, then unblocked his heart winners. Now come the clubs, and when they break 3 2, declarer can clear the suit.
By Bobby Wolff