Aces on Bridge


; K 10 6

k 9 6 4

l A K Q 3

' 10 3 2


; A 9 5 4 3 ; Q J 2

k Q 7 3 2 k A

l 9 6 l 10 8 5 2

' Q 7 ' J 9 8 5 4


; 8 7

k K J 10 8 5

l J 7 4

' A K 6

Vulnerable: Both

Dealer: East

The bidding:

South West North East


1 k Pass 2 l Pass

2 NT Pass 4 k All pass

Opening Lead: Spade four

Unless you expect the unexpected, you will not find it, for it is hidden and thickly tangled.

-- Euripides

We conclude our themed week on trump control with an unusual variation on the hold-up. The deal came in an invitational event, where at least one world champion failed to duplicate the defense shown below.

Declarer Jaggy Shivdasani wound up in four hearts, on an auction that flagged the 5-3 fit. So Steve Weinstein (West) embarked on a forcing defense with his trump length, by attacking spades. Based on the bidding, he knew declarer had two or three spades and that dummy was not likely to be short either, so he tried a low spade to give declarer a guess. Jaggy had seen that one before, so he called for dummy's king -- a play that was unlikely to cost anything. When that won, he started trumps.

In with the heart ace, Larry Cohen (East) returned the spade jack. He was known to hold the spade queen as well after declarer's play to trick one, so this return would clue West in to the position. Weinstein did not want a club shift, so he overtook and returned a spade for declarer to ruff.

Now Shivdasani crossed on a diamond to repeat the heart finesse. He planned to ruff the spade continuation in dummy, the short hand, and return to a top club to draw the rest of the trumps. However, Weinstein threw a wrench into the works by ducking! What could be done now? If declarer turned to diamonds, West could ruff the third round and return the heart queen to cut dummy adrift. If, instead, declarer played the heart king and another heart, West could continue spades. The game had to fail.


South holds:

; Q J 2

k A

l 10 8 5 2

' J 9 8 5 4

South West North East

1 NT Pass


ANSWER: If you want to try for game, show a balanced invitation in whatever way your methods allow. However, if you start with two clubs and partner bids two spades, you should consider passing. Three no-trump is a long way off if partner has at most three hearts, since that suit will often not be adequately stopped. Over a two-diamond response, I would bid two no-trump (but I would pass if my club four were a diamond).

If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, email him at

[email protected]

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