ACES ON BRIDGE
There are occasions when you need to rush at bridge, to take or set up discards, or, more frequently, to draw trumps before something bad happens. But when it comes to guesses in a side suit, it is often the case that the more information you have, the more likely you are to guess well.
Take today’s deal, for example, where you play four spades on repeated heart leads. The first critical issue is to remember to ruff with a trump intermediate, preserving the six. Then cross with another trump intermediate to dummy’s ace and play a second trump. The good news is that you have been able to hold your trump losers to one. When a top club comes back, you duck, then take the club ace, ruff a club and trump a heart high. At this point, you almost have a complete count of the West hand. That player has seven hearts, two spades and at least three clubs, so no more than one diamond.
When you cross to a top diamond in dummy and lead a small diamond from the board, East must split his J-10; unless you were careful enough to preserve the spade six in hand and the seven in dummy, you will be unable to cross to the board to repeat the diamond finesse. But you were careful
... weren’t you?