Aces on Bridge

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - Puzzles, Horoscope And Bridge - BOBBY WOLFF

“Suf­fi­cient unto the day is the evil thereof” is ter­ri­ble ad­vice. Clearly, you should never put off un­til to­mor­row some­thing you can do to­day. (Ig­nore ev­ery­thing I said yesterday; I was ob­vi­ously mis­taken.)

When you play four hearts on the lead of the spade nine, you cover with the 10 and win East’s jack in hand to play a di­a­mond. How­ever, West will win his ace and re­turn a spade. The best you can do is win dummy’s ace and try to cash two di­a­monds. Alas, East will ruff away your di­a­mond win­ner, leav­ing you with a loser in each suit. A trump at trick two works no bet­ter against ac­cu­rate de­fense.

So, what can de­clarer do to avoid this fate? If he delays fo­cus­ing on ob­tain­ing his di­a­mond dis­card and in­stead tries to cut the de­fend­ers’ com­mu­ni­ca­tions in clubs, he can come home via an in­di­rect route.

Let’s say de­clarer wins the spade lead in hand and ducks a club. As the cards lie, the best West can do is win his queen and play a sec­ond spade. De­clarer takes that in dummy and ruffs a club to hand to lead a di­a­mond to dummy. When West ducks, de­clarer wins in dummy, ruffs a club and must now lead a heart. West can do no bet­ter than win the ace and re­turn the suit. South ruffs the fourth club, ex­haust­ing both op­po­nents of clubs, and fi­nally leads a sec­ond di­a­mond to­ward dummy. When West wins, he has only di­a­monds left to lead, so de­clarer’s spade loser goes away.

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